Born and raised in an area where you can literally stand on the border between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, we grew up knowing many of each country’s habits. One of the big differences that we noticed early on in life, was the way groceries are packed: the Dutch pack their yoghurt in large 1 liter packs, the Belgians prefer to have small packs with single portions, the Dutch drink their water from the tap, the Belgians prefer it bottled. When we moved from the Netherlands to Belgium, living in an apartment building, the substantially bigger amounts of grocery packs that get thrown away every week stunned us. Then, the Burning Man festival triggered an entire different level of awareness. Its ‘Leave No Trace’, ‘Radical Self-Reliance’ and ‘Bring Your Own Cup’ policies changed us forever. Traditional festivals where visitors wade ankle-high through plastic beakers and other trash have since become somewhat appalling environments. Now, what we really want is to buy our products without plastic wrapping or disposable container. Try to find that!
French photographer Antoine Repessé (1979, Lille) went through a similar awareness process. Thus, in a period of four years, he and his friends collected 70m3 of garbage, keeping every plastic bottle, newspaper and magazine, cigarette pack, cookie box and toilet roll. Reading this sentence makes you picture the mess, especially since he kept everything at his home. He then brought it into his pictures of the #365, Unpacked project, leaving us with an awkward feeling and drawing our attention to the enormous amounts of waste we produce every day. You find the pictures in the slider above. Feel free to select your preferred view and browse through them.
With his series Antoine Repessé won the Sony World Photography Award 2016 in the Professional Campaign category. The judges: “Beyond the graphic dimension, the accumulation of waste accentuates the gap between the human and his environment, making us consider ecology and our way of consuming. ‘#365, Unpacked’ reminds us that the best waste is the waste that we, as humans, don’t produce.”
What do you think?
Watch the teaser of Antoine’s #365, Unpacked project, aka the making of:
Header photo credit: (c) Antoine Repessé.