Wasteland, the movie
I have been following Vik Muniz’s career for years. We finally pulled the trigger late last year and purchased a piece of his work. Someone pointed me in the direction of a documentary, called Wasteland, where Vik Muniz spent almost 3 years photographing “pickers” of recycled products in the largest garbage dump in Brazil.
The film really stuck with me for many reasons. This garbage dump (aka landfill) in Brazil located on the outskirts of Rio is just that, a dump. There was nothing being done in regards to recycling instead it is a pile that grows daily. The pickers who live around there use this dump as an economic means by spending days and evenings at the dump picking out the products that can be resold.
Through the film, there is a community of people that Muniz befriends, takes photos of and has them work with him to create their portraits. The people are amazing and perhaps through this connection with Muniz they begin to unite and push the Government of Brazil to rethink the dump in regards to recycling and the future. For Muniz he talks about leaning in to see the materials but then you step back and see the whole image. It is true for the Brazilian Government when you look at this dump.
It is a really good film. There is one man that is interviewed who has been living there for decades. He came as a young child and the dump is his income. He said something so poignant that stuck with me more than anything. He said, “one makes a difference, 99 is not 100”. Deep truth in those words.