Finding photographic beauty in rubbish

Diane Gatterdam and Laurie Frankel's artfully styled still lifes highlight our wasteful habits
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From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam
From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam

Imagine everything you have ever thrown away is lying somewhere buried deep in the ground; every plastic bottle, polystyrene container and plastic bag that you used, then discarded and didn't recycle. San Franciscan photographer Laurie Frankel and New York-based creative consultant Diane Gatterdam have visualized this in their series Recycled Beauty.

 

From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam
From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam

Frankel and Gatterdam have produced advertising imagery for such clients as Coca-Cola, Tiffany & co. and Burberry. However, this more personal project was inspired by the work of the Dutch masters, particularly the paintings by still-life artist Willem Claeszoon Heda (1594-1680).

 

From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam
From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam

“This work takes its inspiration in finding the beauty of ordinary contemporary things we use and discard everyday and combining them with nature,” Frankel and Gatterdam say about the project. “The amalgamation of the two complete opposites allows us to look at things in a very different way. These photos highlight the extraordinary amount of disposable items in our lives we use for an instant but then live on for years, while nature renews itself in a seamless continual rhythm.”

Highlightling the amount of objects we use for only a short stretch of their lifespan - from factory to landfill – Frankel and Gatterdam extend the time in which they serve a purpose. “Pulling trash out of a dumpster and giving it new life that can live on indefinitely in a new form allows even trash to have a great beauty,” the pair say.

 

From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam
From Recycled Beauty by Laurie Frankel and Diane Gatterdam

You can read a great interview with Laurie Frankel over at POP, where she talks about her time as a creative director creating famous campaigns such as ‘Just for the taste of it, Diet Coke’ and ‘Come to think of it, I’ll have a Heineken.’ It seems that, having encouraged us to consume, she's now taking a look at the after effects.

And for further insight into today's photography, pre-order our brilliant new book, Photography Today.


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