Summary Of Waste Land By Vik Muniz

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From above, the world of the Jardim Gramacho landfill appears to be nothing more than garbage with the catadores (pickers)—as small and as insignificant as ants—sorting through the rubbish. The workers collect and sell recyclable items in hazardous conditions, earning around USD $20 per day. Yet in Lucy Walker’s “Waste Land,” the garbage of Rio de Janeiro is transformed into fine art as Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz, seeks to humanize the marginalized catadores of Brazilian society. The film focuses on the people Muniz encounters and ultimately photographs for his collection of portraits, entitled “Pictures of Garbage.” The documentary follows the life of the catadores as they collaborate with Muniz on stunning pieces of modern art made from…show more content…
Many of the catadores were of lower middle class that, due to unfortunate turn of events, had to work in the landfill. The Muniz’s female subjects worked in the landfill because it was the only viable employment opportunity outside of prostitution. Instances of domestic violence also pushed women out of their homes into the life of the landfill. The catadores are not blamed for their poverty, nor are they defined by it. Circumstance shaped them, to be sure, but Walker effortlessly captures the depth of their character, rather than wallow in their poverty. Furthermore, Muniz underscores how these people are not their poverty by offering the story of his own humble beginning. While at times this feels to be more a justification of his wealth and an affirmation of his humility, it succeeds in portraying both the artist and his subjects as equal human beings. Interestingly, despite the goal of humanization, Muniz’s photos are positioned and constructed. He re-shoots pictures in his studio, even dressing up one his subject and her children as saints. The photographed catadores are attractive and young or offer an older aesthetic of resilience and strength. Despite the selective nature of Muniz’s portraits, Walker’s representation of the process offers a captivating insight into the world of garbage and those who live in

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