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(don't) look down: 512 discarded cigarette boxes

in 2017, i decided to take a step back from shooting photos of people in order to start focusing more on my surroundings (namely, inanimate objects). for some, this would mean taking in the beautiful and historic architecture of NYC or being struck by cool neon street signs. for me, it became a weird obsession with garbage. immediately, i started to notice the shapes, colors, uniqueness and sculptural quality of each piece of litter.

initially part of a now defunct larger project on discarded objects i see all over the streets of new york city, (don't) look down: 512 discarded cigarette boxes is a study of cigarette boxes that have been abandoned. this project was shot from march-june 2017 during lunch breaks and/or times i felt that i needed to get away from looking at a computer screen. at the time, i worked from home, so at least 80% of these images were taken in park slope and gowanus, brooklyn (with a select few in other brooklyn neighborhoods and manhattan).

music in the video is by jon wolper (of they danced like programmed angels). the title was inspired by a suggestion from my cousin-in-law, andrew joffe (of joffco). to all my friends who had to walk anywhere with me during that 4 month period, i'm sorry i made you stop every time we saw a cigarette box so that i could take a picture. but thank you.

fast facts

  • 512 is a completely random number; 
  • the boxes are in no particular order;
  • the boxes were shot exactly as found;
  • i did not throw the boxes away after shooting them;
  • there is no rhyme or reason to the amount of boxes of each brand. i did not seek out particular boxes. i shot any boxes that i happened to come across, which in turn happened to be a disproportionate number of newport boxes.

© eian kantor, 2018