Left Behind: a photographic rumination on time, trash and transcendence

“Just because people throw it out and don’t have any use for it, doesn’t mean it’s garbage.”
Andy Warhol

Photography by George Payne

This garbage is the gift of the whole universe, each atom is a sacrifice of life, may I be worthy to acknowledge it. May the energy in this trash give me the strength, to transform my unwholesome qualities into wholesome ones.

I am grateful for this waste, may I realize the Path of Awakening, for the sake of all beings.

Namo Amida Buddha.


Junkyard in Adams, NY


Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.

Jacques Yves Cousteau


Junkyard in Adams, NY



Junkyard in Adams, NY


In the barbershop, there’s democracy. You’re a professor; you’re an engineer; you’re a garbage man, have at it. You got something to say, get down with it.

Michael Eric Dyson


Junkyard in Adams, NY


Clock in Sibley Building (Rochester, NY)


There is a garbage culture out there, where we pour garbage on people. Then the pollsters run around and take a poll and say, do you smell anything?

Bob Woodward


Junkyard in Adams, NY


Bouncing ball





Cigar Wrapper




“American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash — all of them — surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered with rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountains of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if no other way, we can see the wild an reckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index. Driving along I thought how in France or Italy every item of these thrown-out things would have been saved and used for something. This is not said in criticism of one system or the other but I do wonder whether there will come a time when we can no longer afford our wastefulness — chemical wastes in the rivers, metal wastes everywhere, and atomic wastes buried deep in the earth or sunk in the sea. When an Indian village became too deep in its own filth, the inhabitants moved. And we have no place to which to move.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America


Beer Bottle


A real New Yorker likes the sound of a garbage truck in the morning.

R. L. Stine


Candy Wrapper


Carmel Apples about to be tossed



Abandoned farmhouse in Adams, NY


Street mural in downtown Rochester



Adams, NY


In the third grade, a nun stuffed me in a garbage can under her desk because she said that’s where I belonged. I also had the distinction of being the only altar boy knocked down by a priest during mass.

Bruce Springsteen




The dead things around us remind us of who we are. We are living things acting dead.





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