El sueno americano
August 25, 2016 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Tom Kiefer was named one of the 50 best emerging photographers for 2015 in the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards based on his El Sueno Americano project, which emerged from his work as a janitor at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Over an 11-year period, he salvaged and cataloged hundreds of personal items thrown away in the facility.

I was greatly disturbed by the volume of food, clothing and personal belongings thrown away at a single U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility. ...
Why would someone throw away a rosary or bible? Why would someone throw away a wallet? Why would a pair of shoes, for all intents and purpose “brand new”, be tossed in the trash? ... “The beacon of hope”, fairness, democracy, equality, faith and grace seems more and more like a sales gimmick, limited to certain groups of people. How we treat others is a reflection of who we are. When belts, shoelaces, toothbrushes, socks, shoes, underwear, pants, shirts, jackets, watches, bibles, wallets, coins, cell phones, keys, jewellery, calling-cards, water, food, soap, deodorant, gloves, medicine, birth control pills, blankets and rosaries are considered non-essential personal property and discarded, regardless of the amount and origin, something becomes less than human.

Click on the [i] icon in the lower right to turn on title cards at the artist's website.
posted by drlith (6 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Came for the border story, stayed for the photos of like objects organized in a rectangular shape. I wonder which church or organization is distributing those Gideon bibles. Or the Snickers for that matter.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:15 PM on August 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by nikoniko at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2016

Powerful art.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:16 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wow! Thank you.
posted by mareli at 5:58 AM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a parent of a 9 month old, the jars of baby food and the animal crackers made me cry.
posted by Knicke at 11:03 AM on August 26, 2016

Wow. Very powerful.

(Also, am I the only one who read the title of the post and thought it was going to be about the lead singer of Cinderella?)
posted by SisterHavana at 3:37 PM on August 27, 2016

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