After spending many years on the Road, River, Rail series, I thought I needed a break from black and white landscapes of travelways. I decided that I would photograph four local landfills in western Massachusetts. These were in the towns of Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield and Montague. I also decided to try color film, the first time I had tried it in a serious way.
There were at least two gifts from this relationship with our waste. One is that I could see that each town had a collection of “Dump Guys” who hung around the landfills and socialized amidst the garbage, trash and groaning of the big tractors burying it all. You could see that these folks were happier here than they would be in any local pub. If I were a different kind of photographer, they would be my subjects.
The other is that I clearly saw that we discard way more stuff than we can safely handle, and despite the technology employed, from special liners designed to protect the water table to large and numerous vents intended to siphon off the methane gas the waste produces, it will someday bury us.
I also found that I am not a natural color photographer. I love the work of artists such as Joel Sternfeld, but I still see the world in shades of gray, and have to struggle to make sense of its color.