Photographing guilt. It’s such a no-brainer for me that I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me until now. Single-use plastics, outgrown clothes (hers and mine), gifts that are no longer needed, broken toys, broken promises. Not being a working mum, not volunteering at school, not doing my daily yoga practice, not being up to date on my coursework, not cooking enough, drinking too much, sleeping too little…
Today is meant to be a study day. My den is so full of stuff that I can’t work in there, even if the desk was clear. My daughter, 9, had cleared out her room and much of the stuff had ended up in my room awaiting processing. She said it was rubbish, I wasn’t sure. Indecision, there’s another invisible thing to photograph. The situation is similar in the garage and the nagging background voice to do a couple of tip runs became a yell. I still managed to make a brew and
procrastinate motivate myself with a 90 minute Netflix documentary on minimalism however (those who know me are probably snorting out their coffee at this point). Anyway, wired, encouraged, guilty-feeling and only slightly cynical I loaded the car and set off.
The local tip has been refurbished. There is a place for everything. I photographed my way through two car-loads, much to the bemusement of the site monitors and other users. Guilt is unseen, and so is our waste, discreetly dropped into containers and we return home to our decluttered spaces with little thought as to the load that we’ve just handed the environment.
Confronting and owning my own waste. It’s rather easier to photograph other people’s litter on pavements and beaches to be honest. I’m interested in the tidal flow of stuff into and out of my home. I feel guilty about waste in so many ways. Should I be selling stuff on eBay, discreetly stressing that the car seat has barely been out of the garage let alone involved in any bumps? Should I have found the pedal that fell off the much-loved and outgrown trike and see if I could re-home it somewhere? The plastic, that despite hundreds of uses as cups, potties, etc will sit in landfill beyond Blythe’s own lifetime? Should I have had another child, to get another cycle of use from these plastics (clearly that’s not an argument that holds up to rational scrutiny). The steam generator, achingly expensive, that died two months past the expiry of its guarantee. Should I at least have tried to get it repaired? The internet said no. The clothes that I worry will end up on a huge mountain of waste in the Philippines with children Blythe’s age picking through it trying to make a living. The endless drawings that she doesn’t want to keep, stages in her own creative journey, yet I can’t bring myself to photograph and release them to another life.
Presenting these for review. They might replace the fairies. They are straight from the camera, unprocessed as yet.