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What started as a simple celebration of color one summer afternoon evolved into a multi-year exploration of our compost heap. The pomegranates in winter, the apple peals in fall, and the egg shells year round became objects of fascination - - no longer mere kitchen scraps, they were celebrations of light, texture and the energy embodied in each piece of waste.
Over the past two years, I’ve visited compost collection and processing sites in Brooklyn & Manhattan, Hartford, CT and Hartford, VT, Lebanon and Hanover, NH. I’ve taken thousands of photographs and paid attention to details. The more I witness, the more compelling these images become. For me, they carry a powerful message not just about the foods we eat and throw away, but also about what it means to live in a healthy, democratic and diverse society.
I think compost is like people and ideas, needing to be turned over once in a while, mixed up and mingled with others. There is power in the transformation of waste - - it gets me every time.
More recently, I have been exploring a more nuanced relationship with compost, including my “Two Degrees” project in which I composted my Harvard Bachelors degree and my MBA from the University of Virginia. Scientists say we can’t raise the earth’s temperature by more than two degrees celsius. How is it, then, that so many smart people with more than just two degrees have not been able to prevent this crisis?
The answer, I believe, lies in our dependence on 19th and 20th ways of thinking. It’s time to reframe the narrative by rethinking our collective relationships to everything, especially to each other. For me, there’s a dynamic interplay between art and climate action. Taking photographs and making art invites seeing in new ways; The insights from this work nourishes ideas for creative action. It’s a joyful process.
To ensure viewers experience the ‘real deal’ of our waste, my photographs are printed on canvas, revealing textures without boundaries. Only when we experience these images closely can we begin to explore what lies within and beyond, especially in the context of a changing climate.
A percentage of the proceeds from my photography goes to organizations that promote a flourishing planet.
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