"Paper or Plastic"
Received Juror's Honorable Mention
"Black and White" Exhibition with Juror Rodney Smith
The Center for Fine Art Photography
Fort Collins, Colorado
My artist statement for the exhibit and image...
I’ve never taken the world too seriously. I always look for and find the silliness in the mundane. I really believe if we could step back, relax and learn to laugh at ourselves, we’d all be happier in this crazy, often angry world.
This image finds the silliness in a very simple, weekly chore that inspired it - checking out at the grocery store. We’re surrounded by messages of global warming, climate change, greenhouse gases, the melting of the polar ice caps and so on. Reduce, reuse, recycle is stamped on products and taught in schools. We’re reminded daily to leave the tiniest of a carbon footprint.
As the mother of two boys surviving in suburbia, I try to do my part to keep the world from crumbling into a frozen, icy mess or burning to a fiery, sooty surface. But guess what? Sometimes I’m too lazy to rinse out the empty can of tomato sauce for the recycle bin. I refuse to “go green” with my bills because on-line statements are quickly forgotten and go unpaid. And…I sometimes do the unthinkable and forget to bring my reusable grocery bags to the store. Which leads to the inspiration for this image and the dreaded question at checkout - paper or plastic?
I’m sure the answer could be hotly debated. Do I choose paper and kill a tree or plastic and strangle a bird? These are not decisions I like to make over my purchase of peanut butter and pancakes. But every time I go to pay for groceries, I get nervous, make a quick mental run-through of the recycling options, state my decision with my head held high, and hope for the best for my family and the future existence of the universe.
This is me in the image wearing a paper sack from a local, earth-friendly grocery store. The image is from a series I completed on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle movement. The other images include creative ways to reuse the paper and plastic bag - a hat for a school play, kindling for the fireplace, an accessory for my poodle - to compensate when the reusable bags are lost.
My family moved to our very Earth-friendly town a few years ago and my feelings of recycling inadequacy are real and yes, somewhat silly. But that’s how I like to handle the big issues, with laughter and admitting my faults.
So here I am, facing my recycling fears “head on”… or in this case, with an earth-friendly, compostable, paper sack hat on.