Photo Essay

Beautiful Trash

Color Study

Despite our best efforts to control litter—fines, public work crews, civic volunteers and recycling programs—we find plastic bags, fast food containers, bottles and cans everywhere from our city streets to the remote desert. Now, I don't condone littering, but I have discovered that I can find beauty in trash. I think of my search for this beauty as my own personal recycling program. I am not interested in litter per se, but in how nature acts on litter. In particular, I document, with my camera, ways in which the water that collects in ditches, streams and lakes transforms trash into objects of elegance and beauty. I have a few preferred haunts, "my favorite ditch," "the ditch near our house," and "the stream in back of our house." Water-filled, dried-up or iced-over, I can always find the stuff of wonderful photographs in these locations. This photo-essay looks at just a few of the many images that I have complied into my Trash Series.

VOTE: Do you like this story?

Tell a friend about this story!

Tell a friend about this story!

  1. or

Hi there!

thought you might like this story!

—The JPG team

18 responses

  • RUGGERI Etienne

    RUGGERI Etienne (Deleted) gave props (10 Nov 2008):

    Wonderfull !!

  • Maria Kappatou

    Maria Kappatou said (8 Dec 2008):

    As a painter I find it enormously provocative to my senses...Thank you!!!!!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (21 May 2009):

    I love the way you see, Charles.......never a boring moment.

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (21 May 2009):

    And, your reasoning behind it all is fascinating!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (28 Jun 2009):

    Hell...Yeah! It rocks! I voted a while ago...I have no idea why I didn't leave my dumb comment until now.

  • Malcolm Lawson

    Malcolm Lawson gave props (19 Jul 2009):

    I really like your essay. It shows that you can find art and beauty anywere.

  • Voudou ...

    Voudou ... gave props (14 Aug 2009):


  • Pascal Fellonneau

    Pascal Fellonneau said (18 Aug 2009):

    Excellent series, my vote !

  • david ong

    david ong gave props (18 Aug 2009):


  • ♥ Cairenn ♥

    ♥ Cairenn ♥ said (2 Nov 2009):

    Hey JPG..... this story needs to be in print!!!!!!!

  • Kurt Brennan

    Kurt Brennan gave props (4 Jan 2010):

    Love it.

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    Definitely should be in print in JPG! *voted*

  • The Man Who Isn't There

    The Man Who Isn't There (Deleted) gave props (22 Oct 2011):

    Voted! Beautiful trash: How to make good photography out of everything.

  • MindTheStep

    MindTheStep gave props (5 Dec 2011):

    Great essay! Love it and voted!

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) said (7 Jun 2012):

    Wonderful essay. Thank you!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (7 Aug 2012):

    Brilliant! Loved photos, concept & story!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (17 Aug 2015):

    Your pictures of litter combined with nature is a work of art ... You not only see this with an artist eye but you have presented it beautifully as well...You have my votes~

Want to leave a comment? Log in or sign up!