Paris Metrotrash

February 7, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive

One Parisian’s Trash…

Paris Update Paris Metrotrash naureen335

“Paris Metrotrash: Naureen,” by Darren Palmer.

Ever since a terrorist placed a bomb in a gas cylinder in a public trash bin, Paris has used transparent plastic bags attached to a simple frame – the better to see what’s inside – to collect poubelles in public places. After noticing the colorful contents of a few bins, photographer Darren Palmer began to wonder what they would look like if photographed and whether you could tell which neighborhood a picture was taken in by the contents of the bin.

That was two-and-a-half years ago. His project took on epic proportions after he chose to photograph bins in stations along all of Paris’s 16 Métro lines. He has now photographed some 2,000 trash cans and published them on

In his images, he discovered patterns of consumption across the whole city that indicated, for example, just how popular American brands McDonald’s and Marlboro are in the land of haute cuisine and Gauloises. That inspired him to organize his photos by theme – cigarettes, coffee, food, gambling, water, beer, etc. – in addition to Métro line and station.

“My favorite trash cans,” says Palmer, “are the ones with empty Starbucks coffee cups inside – they show the name of the person who ordered the coffee. It’s their own personal piece of trash, which will end up on a trash pile somewhere far away from Paris to slowly degrade or just wait to be incinerated.”

A selection of Palmer’s Metrotrash prints will be on show throughout June at Le Yono, 37 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris).

Heidi Ellison

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