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Dumpster Pinhole Cameras Capture a City's Hidden Side

Sanitation workers who are also amateur photographers are documenting the city they keep clean.


You might only notice your local sanitation workers if your trash doesn't get hauled away on time. But a photography project by garbage collectors in Hamburg, Germany will have you seeing the people who empty your dumpster every week in a different light.

The aptly named Trashcam Project started in March after a group of workers-cum-amateur photographers teamed up with a local creative agency and got some pointers from a professional. Now they're documenting the city they help keep clean by turning dumpsters into gigantic pinhole cameras.


To make the cameras, Hamburg's sanitation department agreed to let a hole be drilled into the side of 1,100 dumpsters. The dumpsters are then rolled into place, a large sheet of photo paper is hung inside, and the lid is shut.

On a sunny day the exposure time for a photo can take as little as five minutes, but on cloudy ones, the workers may have to wait 90 minutes, giving them plenty of time to speculate on how the image will turn out. The photos are then developed in a special lab, and as you can see, the results are pretty spectacular.

All of the Trashcam Project images can be found on their Flickr page, and there's even talk of exhibiting the photographs in a local gallery. The video below shows the workers in action, setting up their trashcams—sure, it's in German, but it's nice to see these guys getting to capture images of the city they know so well and share them with the world.

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Photos via (cc) Flickr user Trashcam Project

Via Treehugger

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