Are You Done With That? Photographing The Results Of Your Good Will : The Picture ShowWhat becomes of the stuff we donate? Photographer Wesley Law got access to a Goodwill Outlet store in St. Louis to make photos of giant piles of your castoffs.
Consider the stuff of our everyday lives — the clothes, the sheets, the toys and games. It's essential for a time, but inevitably, eventually, it all gets trashed — or donated.
And that donation process can seem a bit like magic. We drop off our used stuff, and the items disappear — or so we think.
But what truly becomes of it? Where does it go? And what does it look like?
Freelance photographer Wesley Law wanted to know. So when a friend told him about St. Louis' Goodwill Outlet store — one of several throughout the country that serve as liquidation centers for Goodwill retail stores — Law was intent on finding a way inside.
It took him nine months. And when he finally got access, he found an awesome panorama — thousands of items leftover from Goodwill stores around the country, crammed together in bales as large as 5 feet tall by 7 feet wide, awaiting transport to new destinations.
Of course, Law says, it would be nice if we consumed and wasted less. But he says his work has no specific environmental agenda.
"I'm not getting on a soap box or a high horse. This project is merely showing the bizarre beauty in these huge bales," he says.
For the next phase of the project, Law hopes to make large-scale prints to show in galleries, and he's looking for funding through Kickstarter. After that, he'd like to make more photographs — this time, of the bales at their final resting place. The problem is, he doesn't know where that is.
"I tend to get curious about things. I want to find out where these things go," he says.
He's heard they get shipped to Los Angeles and Texas, and perhaps Asia to be recycled or sold. But Law says he has some more investigating to do to — and for now, he's still searching for the final resting place of all our good will.