Barry Rosenthal, award winning photographer and artist,arranges individual pieces of rubbish into intricate colour coordinated collages, creating an imposing and beautiful effect. Rosenthal insists on only using garbage he has found himself, saying that he needs a “connection to the objects” he works with. Initially a nature photographer, Rosenthal became transfixed with discarded rubbish along the water edges, near his New York home, after a dramatic storm covered the grasses he was going to photograph with plastic debris. He has since gathered together so many items, that he now stores them in an army terminal. Here, they are able to dry out and he can catalogue them for future use, although he never alters the natural state he finds them in. The larger facilities also mean that Rosenthal can create bigger collages and produce larger photographs. Although Rosenthal says he was drawn to this type of work because of a love for collections, he cannot deny the obvious sadness of finding so much waste on the beach and its ecological implications.Rosenthal mused; ‘Why don’t we care for things a little better? Why can’t we clean up our own backyard?’ He says that this work has changed him as it is impossible to ignore the environmental impact of all this endless waste which will stay in the ground and oceans forever.
Rosenthals collections are vast and intriguing and tell a story of the past and the future to come. I would like my pieces to have a similar air of sadness and beauty.