Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One City Block Of Cigarette Butts

I was challenged this week to create a typology.

"Typology is the study of types, and a photographic typology is a suite of images or related forms, shot in a consistent, repetitive manner; to be fully understood, the images must be viewed as a complete series."

I've done this in the past, not really knowing what it was called or really... why I was doing it.  A few years ago, I documented all of the textures I encountered on the ground during my travels with "What lies beneth" and every day for a month in 2009, I visited the same house on the beach at different times of the day with my "Race Point" series of photographs.

This time, I took a walk around one city block in Long Beach and photographed cigarette butts laying on the ground.

At first, I just shot each one as I saw them on the street or sidewalk without thinking. After a while, I started to notice them taking on unique personalities.  It was as if each one had a history and character by the way it looked, where it landed and what was surrounding it.  Yes, I understand that it's trash.  However, if you look further, you might be able to see what I saw.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't go as far as giving each butt a name... but I could have.

This photograph is a result of the selected cigarettes I captured within one city block in Long Beach.  There were many more that didn't make the cut, but this gives you an example of what is on the ground, even if we don't notice it or are too familiar to notice or care.  Besides, we would rather focus on the our new city bike lane!

At the time I took these photographs, let's just say that I didn't necessarily blend in.  People wanted to know what I was doing, why I had a camera and what was I taking a photograph of?  Some guy came out of a coffee shop to have a smoke and came up to me.  He said, "hey... I like to take pictures of the ground too."  It just goes to show you that if you do what you love, you will be noticed by people who also love to do the same...even though it may not be exactly the same.


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