In Chicago, behind the shops and restaurants, there are service alleys. These narrow canyons are lined with dumpsters which are filled each day and emptied each night. Sometimes discarded things spill out of the dumpsters and into the alley. There are plastic knives and forks and cups and cigarette lighters. There are disposable gloves in vast quantities, and packaging of all types. There are flowers and vegetables that are past their best, and crumpled newspapers and fliers. These are the things that we use once and then throw away.
In 2017 I began to photograph this spillage, placing the discarded items in reflecting puddles to provide an informative backdrop, and sometimes arranging these once-used things into still-life groupings inspired by their usage.
I live in the city. I buy things in the shops and eat in the restaurants. I see my own day-to-day activities in many of these still-life vignettes. They are self-portraits in which I am absent. Many of the discarded things will still be around, in landfills or elsewhere, long after I’ve gone and perhaps long after the city has gone.