Your garbage says so much about you. Going through a week’s worth of a person’s trash, you can learn what they like to eat, what they wear, the things that they want to keep hidden, their secrets, their desires. We don’t think about what our garbage says about us, and when we throw it away, we forget about it entirely. We live in a society that produces such a monstrously entropic overload of garbage, and it is easy to distance ourselves from the big idea of global pollution.
So what happens when you come face to face with the garbage that you’ve produced in a week, and are forced to acknowledge your own waste? It’s an idea that artists have played with before, like Gordon Matta-Clark and his Garbage Wall, or that guy who kept stealing all of Bob Dylan’s garbage in the hopes of eventually making a museum out of it. Californian photographer Gregg Segal’s ongoing project, 7 Days of Garbage gets families to acknowledge a week’s worth of their own waste, and to pose surrounded by it. Gregg has chosen families from different social backgrounds, and it’s amazing how the garbage really adds to our understanding of the families’ personality, as well as being a striking reminder of the frightening amount that we consume and discard.
“Obviously, the series is guiding people toward a confrontation with the excess that’s part of their lives. I’m hoping they recognise a lot of the garbage they produce is unnecessary” Gregg said to Slate.