the Griffin Museum Of Photography introduce the photographer Lyn Swett Miller. Compost: Muse & Metaphor looks at the beauty of what remains, the idea of impermanence and that life around us is constantly changing.
Call to action, Swett Miller showcases the beauty and transformation of our own detritus.
Here is Swett Miller’s artist statement:
When I throw compost into the trash can behind our garage, the avocado peels, orange peels, and eggshells mix and mingle, creating textured, colorful tapestries. How can food waste be so beautiful? I am in awe of the kaleidoscope of nitrogen- and carbon-rich materials that nourish the soil and the soul.
While a single bucket of compost may seem inconsequential, when I keep showing up, this weekly “chore” impacts not only the waste stream and my inner climate activist, but also my sense of balance. staff in uncertain times. The images are square, like the trash can itself. There are no hierarchies. Each reveals a necessary reciprocity and balance between the various materials as well as between
me and the natural world.
In twelve years, I have treated three tons of my family’s food waste, one full bucket at a time, as well as ten tons of a local cafe. In the process, compost became my muse and metaphor, inspiring me to explore the detritus of our lives. Objects, like a vintage Shakespeare and my mother-in-law’s thesaurus, found new meaning when mixed with food scraps, inspiring questions not only about food waste and consumption, but also about privilege and the power of storytelling.
I live in Hanover, NH where I have spent the past fifteen years trying to figure out what it takes for a suburban family of four to live sustainably. In response to deep climate mourning, practical actions like composting gave me meaning. I am a founding member of the Sustainable Hanover Committee and have found a voice for my activism through photography.
As the climate reaches a tipping point, composting enriches the soil and these images educate, inspire and provide meditations on the power of regeneration, transformation and renewal.
I am an emerging climate photographer happiest playing with the detritus of life. While investigating compost, landfills, and other aspects of our material world, I create visual meditations on the power of regeneration, transformation, and renewal.
Over the past two decades, I have explored what it takes for a suburban family of four to live sustainably. While my early work focused on documenting the beauty and power of all these actions on climate to-do lists, I am now exploring the dynamic relationship between me and the material world. The “subjects” are no longer “taken”, but collaborators with whom I learn to cultivate kinship
Compost is my muse and my metaphor and it’s where I go to make sense of the world.
Photography allows me to share the beauty I see in our waste and the possibilities of joy embodied in the apparent mess. My work offers deeply personal narratives that inspire conversation about consumption and our relationships with people, places and possessions.
I hope this work inspires you to reframe your thinking about the climate crisis. Perhaps the images of compost on this site will make you smile and see that there is joy in reimagining our relationships with just about everything.
Lyn Swett Miller
Lyn Swett Miller: Compost: Muse & Metaphor
Until November 27, 2022
Griffin Museum of Photography
67 Shore Road
Winchester, MA 01890