Photography has the power to evoke emotion while sending a message, and that’s exactly what Benjamin Von Wong capitalizes on in his work. His latest project focuses on computers and electronic accessories that are tossed into landfills. Giving them a second life in breathtaking imagery, he hopes to spread awareness about how important it is to recycle these products.
According to Von Wong, 142,000 computers are thrown away in the United States every day. This contributes to a lot of electronic waste, and only 15 percent of it is recycled. That’s an extremely inefficient amount as most computers and other electronic devices are used for a handful of years before being discarded. Electronics feature many parts that can be recycled and used in some form again.
Since talking about “e-waste” is not a very exciting topic, Von Wong is spreading the message through photography. He collaborated with Dell after learning about their recycling program at the SXSW (South By Southwest) 2017 event last year in Austin, Texas. The computer company uses a closed-loop recycling process where they repurpose parts from old devices, like plastic and gold, into new equipment.
The shoot was built at one of their recycling partners, Wistron GreenTech, in McKinney, Texas. Von Wong and over 50 volunteers helped construct the e-waste photography set in a span of 10 days. Dell gave the set 4,100 pounds of old computer parts, which is the average amount of equipment that an American wastes these days.
“All we needed was to convince more people to recycle, so we decided to build something that people would hopefully want to talk about,” Vong Wong said in a video documenting his efforts. “Entire worlds showcasing the past, powering the future.”
Three different sets were created at the recycling center, each made out of circuit boards, keyboards, and laptops. Each of them posed dazzling landscapes and an image of a post-apocalyptic future. The human aspect of the set was a body-painted cyborg that was surrounded by all these abandoned computer parts.
Once shooting was completed, it only took mere hours to disassemble the sets. All the old parts were given back to Dell to be recycled, and Von Wong hopes that conversation around his photos will impact people and get them to recycle old computer devices and accessories as well.
Von Wong also has a giveaway for his e-waste project. The first 1,000 people that take an image of their computer waste, post it on social media with “#RethinkRecycleRevive,” and tell him about it, he’ll send a postcard signed by everybody who contributed to the photo shoot. People can also enter a contest here to receive one of three large metallic prints of the e-waste shoot.
More From Green Matters
NYC's New Plant-Based Medicine Program Is Healing High Cholesterol and Obesity With More Plants and Less Medicine
Dr. Sapana Shah chats with Green Matters about Bellevue's new plant-based medicine program.
36 Beagles to Be Freed From Cruel Year-Long Fungicide Experiment, Following Undercover Investigation
The Humane Society plans to rehome each dog.
Greta Thunberg Shares Powerful Reflection on Youth Climate Strike: "We Need a Whole New Way of Thinking"
The 16-year-old Swedish activist doesn't believe the burden should fall on children.
China is slowly but surely reducing restrictions on cosmetic animal testing.