This series of photographs of people and their trash expose viewers to certain hidden aspects of their persona.
Singapore-based photographer, Aw Zinkie created an insightful series of portraits titled the The Republic of Pulau Semakau which explores people’s lives through their possessions, but most importantly their garbage. Not often viewed as such, trash is a part of our identity, revealing who we are by what we consume. Zinkie’s work is a testament to the harmful, environmental impact of Singapore’s (and the world’s) overly-exhausted landfills, future waste management solutions, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch the problem has created.
In 1999, after having exhausted the landfills on mainland Singapore, Singapore then created a Semakau landfill by enclosing Pulau Semakau and a small adjacent island with a rock bund. In this light, we, could all be considered ‘Founders’ of this reclaimed portion of the island. It has never occurred to us where all these rubbish end up in land-scarce and over-populated Singapore.
The photographs have an underlying message about how our consumption habits impact the planet, but we also found it fascinating how much of an individual was represented through their trash.
Click through the thumbnails to see a sampling of how each portrait tells a unique story.