Photographer Stephanie Potter Corwin’s work Waste Paper II exists as part-performance, part-photographic intervention. It was developed in response to global issues of diminishing natural resources, the lack of awareness surrounding individuals’ impact on the environment, and associated personal responsibility.
The intervention can be seen as being conducted through location, medium, and process.
“Each image was physically made in a location where humans had intervened and permitted nature to grow, but only in very controlled ways (i.e. green patches next to a garage, ivy peeking over a neighbour’s fence, a thin line of grass growing between a fence and the pavement),” says the photographer of her work.
“The model is placed in these environments, and although she is positioned in and around these patches of nature, she remains disengaged, creating a discernible separation between her and the natural world.”
Potter Corwin also attempts to emphasize this theme of disassociation to the environment through the photographic style and medium itself.
“Half of the images were made with expired 35mm film which has an excessive amount of grain—exaggerated by enlarging the final images—and an atypical colour palette. These nuances are caused by the intervention of time on the film. The expired-film images are then juxtaposed with images made from new 120 film, where the square images were printed onto low-grade cotton paper. A final intervention occurs through the process of physically folding the images into origami structures, unfolding them, and re-photographing them in various stages of deconstruction. This process symbolises a state of environmental decay while alluding to problems of overconsumption, landfills and recycling.”
The objects we are left with are then photographed, and the way we finally view them is as a 2D image of an origami shape. We’re pushed further away from the object itself, emphasizing the theme of disassociation.
This body of work cleverly highlights an important environmental issue. We are intrinsically linked to the world around us yet many of us disregard environmental concerns. Isn’t this something that politicians should be sorting out? Get Green Peace on the case maybe? Stephanie Potter Corwin highlights the need to take responsibility.