Posts Tagged ‘waste’

Making Fire


Discarded Umbrella, Milan, Italy © Jim Korpi

A disposable lighter, like the one I found on the ground in an alley, runs about a euro at the local tobacco shop. I shook this mini yellow one and found it to be full. The problem with it had to do with the fact that its previous owner kept it in her purse along with a handful of milk chocolates.
On a daily walk to work down the alley, the owner reached into her purse for a lighter or a chocolate and found the two had become one. She threw both on the ground.
The lighter was clogged with chocolate. I took it home and spent 45 minutes with a piece of alcohol soaked cotton cleaning its moving parts. After putting it back together, I tried to light it by pressing down the child safety mechanism, spinning the flint wheel and pushing down the gas button in one motion. This proved impossible for an adult, so I watched a video on the internet made by a teenager on how to remove the child safety mechanism. Once removed, I spun the flint wheel and made fire.

damning decay


Drinking Games, After-Math Series, Athens, Ohio © Jim Korpi

“The dismal half-baked images of the average ‘reportage’ and ‘documentary’ photography are self damning… the slick manner, the slightly obscure significance, the esoteric fear of simple beauty for its own sake – I am deeply concerned with these manifestations of decay.” – Ansel Adams

trash talk

Mall Dumpster, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia © Jim Korpi

“With age comes wisdom.” This was the thought a friend and I were recently contemplating around a camp fire in the desert. We no longer communicate with our elders, and our elders are not as wise as their age might let on. These were scenarios swirling around the glow and warmth of the fire and burning at our beliefs like the wind-blown smoke stinging our eyes.

With my own witnessing of the world, I’ve drawn up a rough draft of criteria for a “civilized” society I hope to one day pass on to my children’s children.

My first look is at how a culture views and treats creatures other than itself, or whether it considers its own part of the animal kingdom. If their zoos resemble display prisons, or if their wild populations have been depleted down to stray cats and pigeons; if they talk of “thinning the herds” but refuse to whisper the words of human population problems, there are deep issues.

Next, I observe space dedicated to public use and access. If private property and the automobile rule, city parks are nonexistant, and nature preserves are for show only, then it explains much about priorities.

Lastly, but of just as much importance, I ponder what a society wastes. If it is a country without forests and I see a dumpster filled with lumber; if it is a country with little space for landfills and I see the aftermath of a festival looking like a landfill scattered in the streets; if it is a country with malnutrition and there is an abundance of vegetables being discarded, well, then… I see serious room for reflection.

use it or lose it

Cemetery Dumpster, Belgium © Jim Korpi

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” the ex-marine said as he leaned against the side of the pool and after two hours of laps up and down its length.
It was senior swim day. His skin held to his 80-year-old body firmly. His squinting eyes looked as though they were bordered with the tattooed lines of a sun dial’s second hand.
His wife passed last week. He walked beside her as her body slowly faded.
“No matter how old your body gets,” he said. “Your mind still imagines you’re 20.”


Great Copper Search, Picher, Oklahoma © Jim Korpi

My feet were nimble and quick. Every step moved toward the stable footing of a solid stone. I descended the hillside like a wild ram. Millions of calculations flowed from stem to limb in a subconscious waltz of body and mind.
Humans are a supreme specimen of innate strength and keen movements. Sex and sport allow for a release of this native skill, but all else goes untouched and uncaressed. What we do not use in our sterile and stagnant lives should be recorded as the grandest waste of raw animal instinct, energy, prowess and primal divinity.

more new picher photographs