Monday, July 25, 2011

The Beauty of Waste

The sport of sailing is lucky to have so many passionate people eager to share their experiences. And sometimes, in between these sailing experiences, they share their observations... which occassionally appear a bit random. This report comes from Lia Ditton (words) and Christophe Launay (photos).

Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain - Mamlakat al Baḥrayn (The Kingdom of Two Seas), is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf.

Arid, desert-like; the beaches bare the same dusty hues of the wind-swept plains. Yet all the same, nestled in the sand is the debris of careless modern living: trash. At times, colourful, patterned, (often enchanting once the sea and test of time has had it’s way with it,) Christophe Launay documents the offerings of Al Jazayer Beach.

More than simple portraits of forgotten objects, the images set the scene of untold stories. The beach seems barren and unpopulated, yet dug into the water’s edge is a brilliant crimson cloth, a woman’s garment. Caught among the rocks is a bust flip-flop, abandoned at the scene where it was probably broken. Then beside a white plastic spoon are a child’s set of plastic sea creatures – the absence of play and the people they belong to, quietly poignant. Cultural references abound – the “Hi-Tea” bag, flung onto the sand; the toilet for “disabled people only;” the empty children’s park and the family unit under the concrete pavilion, shot compassionately at a distance.

At the end of the day, the sea will cart off the remains – an assortment of shoes so varied and plentiful it begins to verge on funny, but it is the large stretches of plastic that are saddening. The enormous white tarpaulin with Arabic writing beached like a dying whale and the lasting vestige of what could have been a bag, simultaneously horrifying for it’s time at sea and beautiful for its frail viscosity.

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