Trash to treasure: Finding beauty everywhere you look

Trash to treasure: Finding beauty everywhere you look

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.


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.

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.

fallen tulip petals photo by Lisa Benemelis
beauty in dead tulip petals picture by Lisa Benemelis

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

soapy dishwater pic by Lisa Benemelis

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.

About the Author:

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. She shoots with a Canon 5D Mark III, Lensbaby, and several prime lenses, completing her image processing in LR5. Based in California, she likes to spend her day off driving to the ocean, hiking, reading a good book, and spending time with her family. Visit Lisa Benemelis online.


  1. Addie Jul 14 2014 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Great reminder, Lisa!

  2. Janny Beimers Jul 14 2014 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks Lisa, I have to look twice in my house to get inspired by the litle things in my house to make art.
    I special like the tulip petals!!

  3. Allison Jul 14 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I have been feeling very uninspired the past few weeks, wracking my brain for new ideas with absolutely no luck. This was incredibly helpful and now I have a few ideas for new things to try!

    • Lisa Benemelis Jul 14 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Oh, I can’t wait to see your new ideas. Please be sure to share, Allison. 🙂

  4. Megan Jul 14 2014 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous, Lisa! So inspired by this. I love that first image! <3

  5. Kristy Jul 15 2014 at 9:03 am - Reply

    What a fun and interesting read Lisa! Thanks so much for the inspiration! <3

  6. Margy B Jul 16 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Thank you, Lisa. Loved the free falling petals!

  7. Julia Tulley Jul 16 2014 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Beautiful and inspiring images, Lisa! Thank you for sharing. I keep staring at your first image and still can’t quite figure out what is going on there (how the fork appears to be standing up) which makes it all that much more fascinating!

    • Lisa Benemelis Jul 18 2014 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Julia. It agree. It’s interesting how your mind translates it from the before to the after image.

  8. Cavil Jul 16 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Wow! Stunning photos!

  9. staci Jul 18 2014 at 9:30 am - Reply

    gorgeous images and very inspiring!!

  10. Kim Jul 19 2014 at 11:44 pm - Reply


  11. Jennifer B Jul 20 2014 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I need to really work on this. I am so focused on the big picture, I miss the small details. Thanks for this!

  12. Michele Yon Jul 23 2014 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the post. It’s something I need to work on – finding beauty in the ordinary every day things.

  13. Jana Jul 24 2014 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Thanks for the simple reminder. Life has been hectic lately, may have to force some photographic therapy upon myself to slow down a bit.

    • Lisa Benemelis Aug 28 2014 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      Slowing down is a great reminder to focus not only on the big picture but also the subtle, quiet beauty around us. <3

  14. Angie Kerins Jul 25 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I always struggle taking everyday shots and turning them into art like this. I will be following your work more for sure for inspiration. Beautiful!

  15. Felicia Murray Jul 26 2014 at 12:18 am - Reply

    This is such great inspiration to see the beauty in our everyday lives.

  16. Lacey Meyers Aug 29 2014 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this reminder, Lisa! You have such an amazing eye to see the potential in these scenes!

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