Thursday, October 06, 2005

Plastic and garbage earth

David Woodfall's "Car dump in prairies and Rocky Mountains, USA" is the image of the week from Still Pictures. It's reminder that this week or next sees the publication of Our Fragile World, an anti-coffee table co-effort for which I conceived and wrote the chapter texts, chose most of the 150 or so pictures (a good number from the Still Pictures archive) and wrote some of the captions.

The book looks really good, and I recommend it to anyone. Troth Wells and designer Ian Nixon have done a great job. Only two small quibbles. One, the use of "fragile" in the title. As James Lovelock (who calls the book "splendid") has frequently emphasized: "Nature is not fragile. We [humans] are". Two, the quote at the top from Chief Seattle is bogus. It was written by a screenwriter in the seventies.

One of the things that comes across in the book (in, for example, an image of a tree full of colourful plastic bags) and which David Woodfall's picture also shows is that there can be a kind of beauty in the ugliness humans create. Sometimes, as Charlie Devereux (currently working at openDemocracy) observed of fields of rubbish in Morocco, there can be an otherworldly fascination to it.

(note: "more
than 150 nature photographers from around the world are in Anchorage, Alaska, this week to discuss various conservational initiatives" as a side event at the eighth World Wilderness Congress).


Tom said...

Many, many years ago when I was both young and dumb (time is fixing one of those issues) and was a smoker, a friend would chastise me for tossing my cigarette butts onto the street curb.

"What?", I'd protest. "I might get this giant strip of concrete and asphalt dirty?"

I've since gotten enough wisdom to understand big steps are normally made of tiny acts. The picture just reminds me of that time.

Mark said...

We don't like to be reminded of what we casually throw away, and I hope your book gets to a wide audience.