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Gregg Segal's 7 Days of Garbage

Gregg Segal's 7 Days of Garbage

People's waste tells you pretty much everything about how they live. And as you multiply it out over the course of a lifetime, how much waste an individual creates

American photographer and author, Gregg Segal has published and added to the ongoing series of images of people's 7 Days of Garbage over the past few years. Earlier this year he was selected for the 7th edition of the Tokyo International Photography Competition. The exhibit, “Turbulence” addresses the causes and effects of climate change.

Segal originally set up the series in his own backyard in California and across the seasons photographed his family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances; lying down with their trash from the past 7 days. He created 3 environments that represent the planet - beach, forest and water. 

"BY ASKING US TO LOOK AT OURSELVES, I’VE FOUND THAT MANY ARE CONSIDERING THE ISSUE MORE DEEPLY. MANY HAVE SAID THE PROCESS OF SAVING THEIR GARBAGE AND LAYING IN IT RECONCILED THEM TO A NEED FOR CHANGE. OTHERS FEEL POWERLESS. IT ISN’T THEIR FAULT THAT THE PRODUCTS THEY BUY ARE DISPOSABLE AND COME WITH EXCESSIVE PACKAGING. OUR ECONOMIC MODEL AND ITS NECESSITY FOR GROWTH FUELS THE WASTE EPIDEMIC – AND MAKES CONSERVATION SEEM UNTENABLE."

Gregg Segal was interviewed for a podcast about the series on My Modern Met this month where he explained his personal motivation behind the project and what he was trying to achieve.

"BY PERSONALIZING THE PROBLEM OF WASTE – BY STARTING WITH MYSELF AND WORKING OUTWARDS FROM THERE, I’VE FOUND THAT SOME ARE TAKING SMALL STEPS TO MITIGATE THE CRISIS. REFLECTING ON THE PICTURES I’VE MADE, I SEE 7 DAYS OF GARBAGE AS INSTANT ARCHAEOLOGY, A RECORD NOT ONLY OF OUR WASTE BUT OF OUR VALUES – VALUES THAT MAY BE EVOLVING A LITTLE."

The average American generates 13 kilograms of waste every week. If you care to do the math - at an average life expectancy of 83 years, each person generates around 56,000 kilograms of waste.  A couple of years ago, UK resident Daniel Webb, collected his packaging for a year and it filled a Billboard.  

Segal has published 30 images to date and you can see them on his website along with many other amazing projects. 


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