Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere

by Lisa Benemelis

Inspiration comes in many forms, even garbage.

Have you exhausted all the shooting possibilities in and around your home?

Are you feeling uninspired? Are you looking to push yourself creatively?

I realize that many people will wince or roll their eyes when I recommend shooting garbage.  I know I probably would have prior to capturing “garbage” quite accidentally.  It forced me to think about art in a whole new way – and it also has been a very enjoyable experience!

Inspiration from this unlikely source began when my teenagers tossed their dirty dishes into the sink rather than placing them in the dishwasher.   As I gave them the mom stare to take care of their dishes, I noticed how the light was streaming in and onto the dishes.  I picked up my camera and took a few frames of a fork lying in dirty sink water on a sheet pan.  This image remains one of my favorites to date.

Before:

Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photo

After:

Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photo

Not only does this help push you creatively, but also it has become very therapeutic.  Slowing down and noticing the unsung beauty around you can expand your possibilities.

Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photo

As the tulips dropped their last petals and were ready to be thrown away, I noticed how they had settled on the table and looked as though they were free falling.

Before:

Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photo

After:

Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photo

Have you ever noticed how “dirty” soapy dishwater has beautiful iridescent colors?

Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photo

Keep an eye open for inspiration from an unlikely source.   It will push you creatively as well as help you to see the beauty in all things.
Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere photoLisa Benemelis, California
CMU Instructor, CM Mentor
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Lisa Benemelis is a natural light photographer who is inspired by finding the beauty of emotional connections in ordinary every day moments. Lisa doesn’t simply photograph the person; she photographs how they make her feel. Emotive black and white imagery holds Lisa’s heart and she also likes to experiment with low light, macro and emotive portraiture. She shoots with a Canon 5D Mark III, Lensbaby, and several prime lenses, completing her image processing in LR5. She is one of the instructors of CMU’s workshop Shooting 103: Foundations of Composition. She lives in California and likes to spend her day off driving to the ocean, hiking, reading a good book, and spending time with her family.

Read all photography tutorials by Lisa Benemelis.

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