“From Janie to Janie” is a survey of natural and man-made debris, found, photographed and collected from an approximate one mile stretch of waterfront over a period of one year.
In Fall 2014, Texas was in the midst of a multi-year drought. Receding water levels in area lakes unveiled hidden shorelines and abundant debris. My walks along my beach front became a treasure hunt, albeit of contemporary archeology. I documented each piece of debris as it lay, often not knowing what I was photographing until it was unearthed. Akin to ancient superstition, I felt that if I captured an object’s image, I was responsible for it. Dutifully, I pushed my wheelbarrow along the beach to assist in the removal of these items.
From the debris, I built digital collages to include each item as it was found or rephotographed in the studio and are my attempt to bring order to the chaos. They reveal the variety, quantity and rate of disintegration of the materials in the lakefront. These artifacts speak to me and I seek to present them in patterns that respond to their inherent language, manipulating scale to feature specific pieces. The resulting aesthetic for each collage yields a comic yet serious insight into the messages left by our possessions, such as the two paths taken by the “Beach Bums” crowded head to toe in the sand.
Initially, I set aside my biases about trash and focused on my “treasures”. But, with the abundant runoff of the May 2015 flood, and subsequent barrage of debris filling the lake, I began to understand the migratory nature of trash in our waterways flowing from our drainage ditches and roadways. Eagle Mountain Lake, while only 9 square miles in size, is fed by a watershed of over 800 square miles. Either by accidental or intentional action, the countryside is being inundated on a massive scale by the individual fingerprints of personal irresponsibility – as indicted by the 5,585 pieces of trash collected.