Restoration: Let's Scrap Fly-Tipping

01 / 08

Photography can be a powerful tool for advocating environmental change, uniquely capable of communicating, evoking emotions, and inspiring action. Through the lens, discarded objects and overlooked spaces are transformed into dialogues and actions.

Nearly two years ago, I embarked on a project addressing fly-tipping, collaborating with a local community in South London. My method involved performing photography to provoke conversations–I set up my camera and tripod with a strobe and created temporary sculptures from fly-tipped items. This approach consistently attracted residents and passersby, leading to discussions about environmental stewardship.


However, I kept returning to one location, Albert Road, where residents had a long-term fly-tipping issue. On one side of the street, an undeveloped, abandoned plot was routinely used as a dumping ground. As part of our efforts, we presented the local council with a photobook and a short documentary to advocate for change, but these efforts were initially unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the residents remained committed to exploring potential interventions.

After nearly two years of persistence, something changed. A resident contacted the landowner, gained permission to use part of the plot, cleared it, and used salvaged timber from a recent construction site to build a chicken coop. Though only part of the land is cleared, he considers this a victory and plans to plant a garden. 

This ongoing series of documentary photographs begins the chronicles of the transformation of Albert Road. It showcases how the simple act of creating photographs from waste not only engaged individuals in meaningful conversations but also fostered a sense of ownership and responsibility toward their environment. While challenges remain, the progress made provides a hopeful blueprint for how photography can transform environmental advocacy and community action.