Few people will ever learn a city's secrets quite as intimately as its trash collectors. Sure, it may seem like messy work for those hard-working souls that hit the streets each morning to clear away our waste, but sometimes beneath all that dirt and grime lie scenes of incredible beauty. One group of garbage men in Hamburg, Germany, recently set out to share their unique perspective by using some unique photography equipment -- pinhole cameras made from dumpsters.Stadtreinigung Hamburg, the sanitation workers found a remarkably inventive way to practice their shared love of photography and to reveal a hidden side of their city. By simply drilling a small hole into the front of some large, rolling dumpsters, and affixing photosensitive paper inside, the garbage men were able to transform waste receptacles into functioning cameras.
"It is the oldest and simplest camera design in the world," said garbage truck driver and amateur photographer Hans-Dieter Braatz. "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".
The exercise in dumpster-based photography, dubbed The Trashcam Project, is no simple point-and-click. Once the dumpsters have been framed on their subject, it often takes around an hour to ensure full exposure of the intended image.
It may seem like some crude technology, but the resulting photographs are surprisingly beautiful -- made all the more so by the spirit and process of their creation. Check it out:
Here's a video, in German, demonstrating how to take pictures with a dumpster pinhole camera.
For more the garbage men's Trashcam Project, check our their Flickr page.