Graded Unit – Idea 2

Following on from idea #1 for the graded unit, the end of 2019 and the associated debris from Christmas inspires me to consider leftovers.

The Cambridge English dictionary defines leftovers as “the part that has not been used or eaten when the other parts have been”. A suitable synonym would be remains (defined as “continuing to exist or be left after other parts or things have been used or taken away.”)

I walked down the street this morning and discarded Christmas trees lined the pavements, awaiting pick up by council workers. I walk past the pub and see dregs in pint glasses through the window. How many times a day do people post images of their meals on social media?

…and how often do people photograph the leftovers, the remains? The ugly stuff that’s left after the rest has been eaten. Photo albums of parties rarely show the deflated balloons, the torn paper, the carryout bags of empties that remain after.

Urban exploration (also known as urbex or urbanex) is really popular. The urge to uncover secrets long hidden, to step into nooks and cubbies long abandoned, is accompanied by a curiosity for architectural or social remains. A great deal of urbex requires stealth, sneaking into premises that have been closed off to public access.

I’d like to take a look at the remains that are visible daily: the scraps on a dinner plate that didn’t make it to Instagram; the post-party debris; the stubbed-out butt of a cigarette; the dregs.

I think this would make a really interesting visual series, combining environmental, still life, and possibly portrait images. I have begun researching relevant photographers and works.

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