'You Are What You Eat' - Crazy Images Of People Laying In 7 Days Worth Of Their Own Garbage

That old saying "you are what you eat," (originally penned by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.") was an observation made in the 19th century about one's state of mind and health related to the environment around them.

However, if Anthelme were alive today and observing the world around him he might just have edited his famous quote and amended it to "you are what you eat and throw away." We all think we have come a long way since then (hopefully) but what we now consume comes complete with all manner of environmentally-unfriendly packaging that is very quickly discarded and finds it's way into the trash bin, and that is a real problem for global pollution.

The United States has a trash problem and very big problem. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces more than 4 pounds of garbage per day. That’s more than double the amount produced in 1960, and it’s 50 percent more than the amount produced by Western Europeans.

In January 2014, photographer Gregg Segal decided to put some imagery to those numbers. His ongoing series, “7 Days of Garbage,” shows Californian friends, neighbors, and relative strangers lying in the trash they created in one week. The project is intended to open the eyes of Americans to their wasteful ways and how that impacts our environment.

And the results below are both beautiful and shocking.


According to the Slate website some of Segal’s subjects volunteered to be a part of the project because they believed in the idea behind it. Others were compensated for participating. Generally, Segal strove to include people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. And while the amount of garbage varies by person, there were some people who produced more garbage than they were willing to bring to the shoot. “Of course, there were some people who edited their stuff. I said, ‘Is this really it?’ I think they didn’t want to include really foul stuff so it was just packaging stuff without the foul garbage. Other people didn’t edit and there were some nasty things that made for a stronger image,” Segal said.

More info: Website | Facebook (h/t: Slate)


About Gregg Segal - Photographer:
Gregg Segal studied photography and film at California Institute of the Arts. After detouring through film and an MFA from New York University in dramatic writing, Segal returned to photography with a writer’s sense of theme and irony. His photography has been recognized with awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, PDN and the Society of Publication Designers. Segal’s portraiture is regularly featured in Time, Fortune, Wired, and ESPN. Segal won the Jury’s choice award at the Tokyo International Photography Festival in 2013. Recent solo exhibits include None of the Above at Blue Sky Gallery (Portland, OR) and State of the Union at The O. Winston Link Museum (Roanoke, VA).

Related articles: