In this series, Canadian photographer Heidi Leverty examines the reality of what really happens when our used clothes are dropped into bags and chutes and boxes around town to be magically revived and repurposed for those in need. Somehow it is expected that these good intentions find their way into waiting and grateful arms with little effort. The photos tell a different story.
Bales of shirts, pants, coats, and dresses, once new and colourful, morph into dull piles of tired cloth, worn with such faded sameness it is impossible to identify one piece from another. The same tiredness one imagines it takes to dissect these mounds of cloth is matched in the masked faces of the sorters as they cleave to their enormous task. The artist reveals the tip of the iceberg by using these mountains of material as one oppressive object.
The artist invites us to see what happens at one stage in this complex journey of our flotsam and jetsam. Cavernous, industrial hangars house heaps of clothing that loom over those workers whose job it is to sort through the leftovers of strangers. The daunting task of choosing which things go to recycling or landfill, get turned into rags, or sent to other countries for sale falls to them. To witness this link in the processing chain allows the viewer to experience the overwhelming sense of hopelessness that results from endless, ever-growing mounds of material trucked in every day to the plant.