Garbage doesn’t lie. Taking cues from Italian author Italo Calvino, who suggests that we are all defined by what we throw away, emerging artist Emilio Cresciani looks to people’s rubbish to create revealing portraits.
“The waste itself is a portrait of someone…more their inner person, who they are…what they enjoy doing, it defines them,” said Cresciani.
In Face2Face, traditional photographic portraits are layered with an image of trash collected by the individual over the period of a week. Presented on a metallic surface in a negative colour scheme, Cresciani’s images take on a stark, x-ray like otherworldly quality.
“I asked them to be as accurate as they could…so people had a whole range of things: food, nappies, cigarettes, condoms, general wrappers and stationary, clothes… As you can imagine it got quite smelly to photograph and at times quite full on, but nonetheless interesting… It really challenged them.”
Some participants, who considered themselves quite environmentally aware going into the project, were surprised and shocked by how much rubbish they accumulated over a short time.
The culmination of a two-year project, Face2Face is a more individualised take on Cresciani’s wider body of work, in which he studies the impact of waste on the environment.
“I’m interested in the way it [rubbish] impacts the world and how we’re constantly throwing away and how we’re forgetting about it,” he said. “If you look throughout history you can tell a lot about society and about a civilisation by looking at their waste sites and their tips.”
It may not be glamorous, but what we’re throwing away can’t forever be ignored. (AM)