Monday, November 16, 2009

Refuse, renovations and clutter

click photo to enlarge
The steps that have been taken in recent years to reduce the amount of rubbish that we throw away, and to recycle much of that which is collected, is both laudable and necessary. We owe it to ourselves, the planet and our descendants to do more in this regard. However, the collection and sorting of refuse has created an unintended problem: the armies of unsightly "wheely bins" that clutter our towns, cities and villages. Many buildings are sufficiently adaptable to manage them discreetly. But, terraced houses that were not built with such things in mind are now often disfigured by green, blue, black, grey and brown bins that are sometimes permanently parked in front of them. And everywhere experiences at least one day a week of disagreeable clutter when they are placed on the pavement or the edge of properties for emptying by the refuse disposal workers. They are not objects that in any way enhance the appearance of the streets of our country.

Last week I was looking at some decorative scaffold sheeting in South Kensington, London. A building that was being renovated had been surrounded by a light grey (nylon?) material on which were outlines of chimneys, roofs, windows etc. among which were details such as cats, vases of flowers, birds and so on. The material had been carefully fixed so that it was tautly drawn around the structure. It did its work of hiding and protecting the work that was taking place behind admirably, but also offered something of interest and fun to the streetscape. So much better, I thought, than projecting scaffolding poles and flapping sheets of shiny plastic. Why, I mused, couldn't that sort of thinking be applied to the unsightly wheely bins? Surely with a concerted effort we could make them less visible.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On