A group of creative sanitation workers in Hamburg, Germany have found a way to combine their love for photography with their daily duties as Garbage men. The workers were allowed to modify city dumpsters by cutting small pinholes in the side of the container and affixing a camera and photo paper inside. The photos are surprisingly amazing, and show a new perspective of the city not typically seen.
The so-called Trashcam Project was launched in March, 2012. The cameras mounted inside the dumpsters aren’t simple point-and-shoot digital cameras. Instead, the team used old-school style cameras that often take up to an hour to achieve full exposure. The resulting imagery is transferred to photo paper mounted behind the cameras.
The photos produced by this rather crude setup are pretty spectacular. The photos are black and white and depict a vintage look of years past. The trash workers setup the dumpster cams in strategic locations to the get the best shots possible. They also factor in the lighting conditions and overall composition of the photo when rolling the dumpsters into place.
Hans-Dieter Braatz is one of the trash worker/photographers. He summed up the Trashcam Project, saying “It is the oldest and simplest camera design in the world. To turn a garbage can into a camera, you only have a tiny hole drilled purely forward and hang a large sheet of photo paper inside the back. Is finished, the huge, rolling pinhole camera.”
In a related story, the amount of trash piling up in the city streets of Hamburg is overflowing due to an increasing number of absent sanitation workers skipping their daily routes.
Check out some of the dumpster photos from the Trashcam Project (via the Trashcam Project Flickr page):