Frankel and Gatterdam, Recycled Beauty

How can we dignify waste? Frankel and Gatterdam offer stillness to reflect on beauty and decay in material life

San-Francisco based photographer, Laurie Frankel takes a turn away from her commercial work to partner with Diane Gatterdam on a still life photo series entitled, Recycled Beauty. On the surface, these photos appear to capture the extraordinary amount of disposable waste we produce in very literal fashion. But upon closer examination, each still life radiates and mesmerizes in equal measure to give trash a new life.

The photographs draw their visual language from still lives of old Dutch masters, particularly paintings by still-life artists Willem Claeszoon Heda (1594-1680). Carefully composed yet filled with playful coincidence, their pairings of unlikely leftovers from industry and nature collide in beautiful restraint. A yogurt container chafes with permanence while a peach rind glimmers with hopeful renewal.

Frankel states “Even in their decayed state, the objects carry a kind of dignity: of having impact on our lives. At the same time, there is sadness in their beauty.” Capturing a mood somewhere between romance, sorrow, and whimsy, each image invites us to observe the rhythms and cycles of factories and landfills, life and decay, in a very different way. Frankel and Gatterdam offer stillness and space to reflect on our relationship with material life.