The madness of lack and waste

About 3.1 million children under the age of 5 starved to death, died from lack of food. That is around 8,500 children under the age of five every day. Or one child every ten seconds (UNICEF 2020).

Photographs are able to convey dramatic messages and one such message was sent from Somalia in 1992 by James Nachtwey. Nachtwey's philosophy of his work: "I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated."

Unfortunately, history has taught us that it regularly repeats itself, no matter the cruelty of events. The situation, which is already threatening for many, is being significantly exacerbated by increasing effects of climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.  

James Nachtwey: Somalia, Famine victim sewn into burial shroud, 1992 © James Nachtwey

Georg Gerster: Truckloads of edible tomatoes and squash rot near Homestead, Florida, USA, 1982 © Georg Gerster Estate

While hunger brings immeasurable suffering to people, around 1.3 billion tons of food are destroyed every year (The consumer initiative e. V.: food waste in numbers, Nov. 2019).

The supposed blaze of color in the apparently abstract photography by Georg Gerster shows a concrete side effect of consumption in the industrialized nations: truck loads with red and green tomatoes, orange and yellow pumpkins. The photograph shows products that were discarded because they didn’t meet the requirements for size, shape, color or other criteria (here in Florida, 1982).

is a documentary photographer from the USA, who is particularly well known as a war correspondent and is therefore one of the most important representatives of contemporary documentary photography. He regularly risked his life in the trouble spots of this world.

is considered a pioneer of aerial photography and in this capacity was one of the most fascinating and first aerial archaeologists in the world. Gerster loved this earth and showed the beauty of our planet in beautiful photographs - but also revealed in a subtle way some senselessness of human action.