After watching the documentary Waste Land it opened my eyes to a completely different world. Waste Land is a documentary about the photographer Vik Muniz and his work in largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Personally, I find photographers go out and shoot the stories of people to be the most fascinating and admirable. So I really enjoyed watching this documentary.
The men and women, catadores, who pick out these recycled materials out of trash are so proud of what they do. They may be poor, but they live happy lives according to them, and to them that’s all that matters. They care so much about each other in their community and their association and only want to be noticed.
When the women would talk about this job they often said they hated it. They hated it because it was dirty and they smelled, but what they did say was that it was never dirty money. They were proud that they weren’t earning a living prostituting or in the drug trade. They were proud of what they did to provide for their families as not glamorous as their job may be.
Vik took many photographs of these people, working portraits and more and turned them into art. Yet, what was most inspiring about his pieces was that the catadores were the ones who created them with him. They were not only the ones photographed, but they, with the help of Vik created beautiful portraits with recycled materials.
It was amazing to see how creating art and involving the people in it, could help make such a beautiful change in the lives of the catadores.