Trashed Trails Project

October 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
Trashed Trails - Macedonia Brook State ParkTrashed Trails - Macedonia Brook State Park

We have uploaded a new gallery entitled "Trashed Trails" to Trailside Photography. During a car-camping and hiking trip through the Mid-Atlantic states and New England in the late summer of 2014, we picked up trash along trails over a period of several weeks. This series of composite images juxtaposes the land and the litter.

Of course, we were appalled at the amount—and kind—of litter we found on some trails, but we wondered whether each bit of trash represented a wanton disregard for these public lands or whether some of the litter might be explained by less sinister circumstances. Perhaps that water bottle fell out of a pack and the hiker didn't notice. Maybe someone simply forgot that pair of socks after cooling his feet in a stream. Someone else, dealing with a fussy infant, might not have noticed that the baby spit out its pacifier. And perhaps the person who left soiled underwear in the woods was simply too embarrassed to carry them out.

Of course, the images in this gallery can't explain how each bit of trash ended up on the trails, but we think they illustrate the cumulative effects of our individual behaviors. Rather than feeling superior to the litterers—we would never throw trash in the woods!—we realized how easy it can be to ignore the impact of individual actions because we can't imagine, and often cannot directly see, the cumulative patterns to which each small act contributes.

Note: We are not currently offering prints of these large composite images for sale through this site, but we welcome inquiries about prints, licensing, or other arrangements for display.


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