Garbage doesn't lie. Wrappers, cans, bottles and cigarettes contradict what we tell ourselves -- and what we tell others -- about how we live.

Italian author Italo Calvino suggests that we are all defined by what we throw away. We are what we dump.

In this new exhibition FACE2FACE I take my interest in waste to a more personal level, making a connection between our public face and what is privately discarded.

Portraits usually focus on someone’s appearance or character but this new series focuses on our private face, that which is hidden to others. Is our true identity found in the rubbish we throw out each day?

I asked my friends to collect their rubbish for the week. I superimposed close up photos of this waste onto a photo of their face. I then turned these into negatives. As an x-ray points out the weakness or disease in our body, so these expose our waste as being a hidden side of our lifestyle.

Many people found it confronting to come face to face with the volume of waste they accumulated over a week. Our consumerism leads us to think of rubbish as a necessary evil – provided it can be removed far away to a landfill or washed down the drain.

The work references 16th c Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo – known for his evocative portraits made of fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books - and Vik Muiz who photographed pickers of recyclable materials in Brazil’s largest rubbish dump, the workers then collaborated to make huge self-portraits out of the garbage.

FACE2FACE was on show at Interlude Gallery Sydney in February 2017 and Photoaccess Canberra in April 2017.  

Online catalogue: http://www.photoaccess.org.au/files/Emilio%20Web.pdf