What’s Left Behind

  • What’s Left Behind

    • 29 January 2022
    • Posted By Ellen Muse-Lindeman
    Date/Timing September 24 - November 12, 2022

    A featured exhibition of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial. Juried group show reflecting on the record humans are leaving for future generations.

    Local Eyes, a group of five Cincinnati photographers (Helen Adams, Jymi Bolden, Melvin Grier, Samantha Grier and Amanda Cawdrey) who have curated exhibits of local photography for FotoFocus since 2012, curates a juried group exhibition of images that explores the theme of “What’s Left Behind” – how what we consume, what we collect, and what we discard affects the environment we live in and our lives in the greater context. What record are we leaving behind for future generations?

    When you walk into a person’s home, you get a sense of who they are from their belongings. This can also be the case by seeing what we discard. Archaeologists uncover the nature of ancient societies by studying things left behind. What record are we leaving behind today? Trash speaks to a disposable and materialistic society. The popularity of organizing and “tidying” has exploded. We are being encouraged to keep only what “sparks joy.” What we discard exposes our attitudes towards consumption, class, mobility, sustainability, and the environment. The things we regard as trash were at one point something we valued and used, a relationship that is fleeting. Are we becoming a disposable society? Are other areas of our life affected? Are humans themselves disposable?

    Scientists sanctioned by the United Nations have gone on record saying humans are fueling a greenhouse effect. Our consumer habits are driving climate change. The production and use of household goods and services contribute greatly to global greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that the average product results in carbon emissions of 6.3 times its own weight. It is estimated that one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. If food goes to the landfill, it produces methane- a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. Trash travels through the world’s rivers and oceans where it is often eaten by birds and fish, concentrating toxic chemicals in their tissues, and filling their stomachs, causing them to starve.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote “Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”

    “What’s Left Behind” Curator & Artist Talk
    Saturday, October 8 from 12-2pm
    Join Curators from Local Eyes as they share more about the exhibition theme, and a selection of exhibiting artists as they speak about their work.

    Panel Discussion: Making a Difference – Reducing, Reusing & Recycling
    Saturday, October 22 from 12-3pm
    Representatives from local organizations that specialize in the fields of reuse, recycling, and food waste will talk about ways people can work toward environmental sustainability.

    Image credit: Brad Smith, Junk Collector Louisville Kentucky, Widelux panorama camera – tri x film – black and white fiber print, 1998, 7.5 x 18 inches

    This juried group exhibition is a featured exhibition of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial.


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