Trash turns to treasure at Disposable Camera Project III: Trash

In a show worth Instagramming, Disposable Camera Project III: Trash asks photographers and viewers to re-orient their idea of garbage. Co-curators Helen Wong and Megan Jenkins tasked artists to use disposable cameras and capture images of trash in ways you wouldn’t normally see it.

“Disposable cameras are such a fun medium, it’s taking something that’s considered low art and then printing it and putting it … into a … gallery space elevates the medium,” said Wong.

“We usually work with photographers who have top of the line gear, so giving them a camera where you can’t adjust the focal length and you can’t adjust the ISO ... is really challenging for people, which is fun in a surprising way,” explained Jenkins.

“It’s a very accessible medium, that’s what makes it cool,” Wong added.

The white-walled gallery has a very minimalist vibe, where the photographs are held up by discreet magnets while modest potted plants hang from the ceiling. Each photographer’s pictures show a unique take on the theme.

“We definitely thought when we were planning this, ‘We hope people don’t just take photos of literal garbage.’”
“We definitely thought when we were planning this, ‘We hope people don’t just take photos of literal garbage.’” Angela O'Donnell

Wong and Jenkins really wanted to the photographers make their own interpretations of trash.

“It was just interesting how all of the artists interpreted the theme. It was so different. [E]very time [artist Dylan Maranda] saw a piece of trash on the beach, he would take a photo of where the trash was … like reimagining a landscape,” said Wong.

“Ho Tam took photographs of plastic bottles in still-life setups ... It elevates the plastic bottle to something of value,” said Jenkins.

“We definitely thought when we were planning this, ‘We hope people don’t just take photos of literal garbage,'” Wong added.

The show also had a zine-making station in the back room. The ability for a viewer to go from looking at art to making art of their own helped add to the accessibility of the show. Wong stressed the importance of this theme.

“It’s about breaking down the barriers associated with viewing art. Art shouldn’t just be for a certain class … It is for everyone and it should be easy to understand and easy to access.”