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All the food in Aliza's photos had been discarded when she found it. Photo: Aliza Eliazarov

Waste not

Waste not

Words: 5

Photos: Aliza Eliazarov

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Inspired by 16th-century still life paintings, Aliza Eliazarov creates opulent scenes of rescued food to highlight the wasteful decadence of what we throw in the bin.

When it comes to food waste, the numbers are simply unpalatable. Close to 40% of food in the US today goes uneaten,” says photographer Aliza Eliazarov. Her eyes were opened to the scale of the problem when, on assignment for a local New York newspaper, she spent time documenting a freegan as he rescued pounds of fresh produce, baked goods and other grocery items from curbside trash directly outside of a store. “Why was this perfectly good food being tossed away?” she wondered. It was from this experience that her series Waste Not was born.

“My goal was to elevate food that was considered waste to works of art”

“Some 16th century still life food paintings may depict abundance, but the reality is that food waste at the level seen today was nonexistent prior to the industrial age,” Aliza says. “In these paintings the level of appreciation and respect for food is so high, that it has been elevated to art,” she adds. “My goal was to elevate food that was considered waste to works of art.”

All of the food photographed here was rescued from dumpsters or urban streets and eaten.

Sorbet rescued from Key Foods, Brooklyn. Photo: Aliza Eliazarov
All these juices were found in a dumpster at a distribution facility. Photo: Aliza Eliazarov
This food was found in a garage next to a Brooklyn bakery. Photo: Aliza Eliazarov
These oyster shells were rescued by an organisation that reseeds them to restore oyster beds in New York Harbor. Photo: Aliza Eliazarov
A huge amount of vegetables are discarded because they don’t look right. But there’s nothing wrong with them. Photo: Aliza Eliazarov
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