We’re a big fan of the photo series – you might have noticed! Anytime anyone photographs something gross, or weird, or unusual – to do with recycling, rubbish or upcycling, we’re on it. And this series, 7 days of rubbish by Gregg Segal, is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It shows rubbish in a completely different light and the photographs are, in a way, very beautiful. But at the same time they’re kind of horrifying – showing exactly how much waste different households generate each week.
The whole idea for the project actually began when Gregg was a little boy. His neighbor used to pile garbage bags high at the side of the kerb – and he even photographed it with an Olympus 35RC that he’d been given as a gift. Now, his fascination with garbage has evolved into something a little bit different – the desire to show just how pervasive rubbish is, that it can reach every single corner of the globe, no matter how hard you try to fight it.
Gregg says that he isn’t an environmental activist, but in our eyes whether he identifies as an activist or not just doesn’t matter – what matters is that he’s doing something to make a difference. He asked people that he knew including other parents, family, friends, his yoga teacher, someone who collects bottles and cans to save all of their rubbish as well as their recyclables (basically, their waste… just not their icky waste) for a week, then to lie down in it and be photographed.
Some people agreed to the project because they supported the idea of it, but some were a little grossed out and agreed to do it for the payment. Across the board though, the very act of saving up garbage made the majority of the participants stop and think about just how much stuff they were throwing away. The photo series is completely inclusive and shows households across all socioeconomic sectors – again, demonstrating that the concept of waste and throwing stuff into landfill occurs across all classes. It’s something that everyone does.
The photos were actually taken in his own backyard, where he created three different sets – a mossy, grassy set, a “sea” set and a beach set. The beach sets and the sea sets are perhaps more shocking than the grass sets – participants looked like they were either being buried under their rubbish and buried in sand, or like they were drowning in the ocean as well as in their own trash. Photos range from two young guys with tons of pizza boxes, to families with tons of healthy food waste and elderly individuals with not a lot of waste besides a few old newspapers. Ultimately, the series shows a disparity between the waste that we all produce, but it also shows a unity: when it comes to trash, we’re all the same.