1st Place: Untitled
Photography Competition Submission
This photo was taken for the Green Office’s Autumn Photography Competition, on the theme: Decay, which took place between the months of October-November 2022.
The theme of decay and sustainability resonates with me, as I spent my childhood in a small town in rural Hawai’i where the battle between the natural world and modernity is evident. Due to the rural nature of my town, cars that are beyond repair are typically left where they died as opposed to being relocated to junkyards where their parts can be repurposed - hence why the rainforest I grew up in is full of rusted, decaying vehicles that have since been reclaimed by the jungle and its inhabitants. This is particularly surprising to those who visit this part of Hawai’i with expectations of the luxurious tropical paradise that is so often advertised to tourists, further highlighting the dissonance between the Hawai’i that is observed by outsiders and the lived experience of locals. This divide can be seen across all aspects of life in Hawai’i, from the recent state-wide water shortage to the disregard that tourists had for COVID-19 regulations at the height of the pandemic, and it ties directly into the sustainability of life in popular tourist destinations such as this. It is not the locals who are at the root of these crises, but rather those who expect to visit a pristine paradise that they are actively demolishing. That is not to say that it is impossible to sustainably visit places like Hawai’i - rather, it is a reminder of the importance of visiting and respecting the reality rather than the fictitious depiction that is so often sold to justify the destructive nature of the tourist industry. I captured this image on 35mm film during my last trip home in August 2022, and I feel that it emulates this dichotomy between the expectations and reality of tourist-heavy localities such as the town I grew up in.