“All I know is that it’s the only photograph I’ve ever made that has made me tear up on multiple occasions.”
Troy Moth, a photographer from Vancouver Island, has captured a heartbreaking image showing the consequences of our throwaway society. It depicts a bear sitting down in the middle of a massive landfill, with smoke and despair rising up from behind it.
According to Moth, he was filming a documentary in a remote Canadian village when he took a tour of a local landfill. It was here that he saw a bear – along with several others – sadly foraging through flaming piles of garbage.
“When I arrived at the landfill the smokey pit was on fire with flames coming up taller than the bear.
“I was speechless, in complete shock of what I was seeing. When I finished making the photograph, the bear turned slowly and walked down into the smokey pit, disappearing from my sight. He never came back up during the rest of my time there.
“It took me a very long time to process this photograph after, and I’m still not sure how I feel about. All I know is that it’s the only photograph I’ve ever made that has made me tear up on multiple occasions. And I’m sure still has more to teach me.”
Moth would later title his photo as Invisible Horseman – 2017, a reference to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And at the rate we’re generating garbage, an apocalypse in the near future isn’t too farfetched.
According to studies, humanity dumps 2.12 billion tons of waste each year. If you put all that waste on trucks, the line would go around the world a staggering 24 times.
More than making people feel sympathetic, the photographer hopes that the picture would actually get everyone to take action.
“One woman said we have to shame everyone involved in this,” Moth said, talking about a comment he read. “And I just thought, ‘What? You are involved in it. Everybody is involved in it. You can’t shame people into solving this’.”
If you’d like to read more about Troy Moth’s story, you can check out his interview with DeSmog Canada here.