I first came across Chloe Juno and her series ‘Someones Rubbish’ via Instagram. The series is a longterm project documenting life in Juno’s home town of Brighton through the everyday items that are discarded. Juno makes this summary of the project on her website:
“Someones Rubbish over 2500 images on Instagram. Photos taken daily from 2014. Looking at everyday life in the centre of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Britain. The objects people use and discard, a street museum of now, looking at the cost of living, the things we need to use in this life for play, work, education, health, beauty, food, sex, love, drugs, debts, money, bills, general domestic life. Over time I have also realised, that many of the objects I am drawn too document, are things I have used or relate to in some way. As the collection builds patterns form, representing of a section of a city. A big picture of life now.” (Juno, s.d.)
Apart from being drawn to both the concept and execution of this series it has also now taken on a particular relevance as collecting photographs of rubbish and discarded items is something I have started to do as part of my ‘DailyWalkDiary’ project. This project came about as a way to motivate myself to do something creative during the recent Covid-19 lockdown. As I work in retail I found myself busier than ever so being stuck in the house was not a concern for me, in fact, I was working long hours and it felt like I was hardly ever at home. I started walking daily, and documenting what I saw as a way to decompress from the pressure of work and also to push myself to use photography as a creative outlet to support my mental health and well being. I did not intend to photograph rubbish as part of this project, it is just something that happened instinctively, but was perhaps subconsciously driven by my knowledge of Juno’s series. Since I have started doing this I can identify much more with the drive Juno has to follow her own project – the idea that these items can tell us something about human life now is a compelling one. In a recent blog post, Juno imagines how an archaeologist in the future could look back at items of the past and use them to build a picture of human life (Juno, 2020). Juno’s simple, yet effective concept succeeds because of the sheer number of items Juno has collected over the years and because each is charged with multiple potential narratives – I look at them and imagine the circumstances that led to the objects being left and am left with many possibilities ranging from the profound to the banal. Taking these images myself I feel a sense of quiet envy at some of the amazing finds Juno has had, and a jolt of memory from my own searches when I have come across something out of the ordinary and felt pleasure at photographing it.
Juno, C. (s.d.) Someones Rubbish. Available at: https://www.chloejuno.com/someones-rubbish-1/luc2qjv1zwhdbs7jszmq7xfbmf0nwe (accessed 23rd May 2020)
Juno, C. (2020) Someones Rubbish: Babybel Chloe Juno, Brighton and Hove, England. Chloe Juno Blog, 15th May 2020. Available at: https://www.chloejuno.com/blog/2020/5/15/someones-rubbish-babybel-chloejuno-brighton-and-hove-england (accessed 23rd May 2020)