I hate finding litter when I’m hiking.

One of the key tenets of the outdoors is “take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints”. Even so, I always end up packing out other people's trash.

I started to notice that Mylar balloons kept appearing on my hikes. I was intrigued.

These balloons were faded memories of a specific moment in time, marking some stranger's celebration.

More troubling, Mylar balloons like these are categorized as "non biodegradable," meaning they do not break down over time. So a balloon that was used for a few hours at the most, then released into the air in a split second, could spend almost an eternity existing in otherwise unspoiled nature.

Time has nevertheless taken a toll on them. Their previously bright and shiny designs have been marred by holes, dirt, and bleaching from the sun.

I took the balloons out of nature and photographed them in my studio. Shot starkly on black and using a fan to contort their flaccid shapes, the balloons felt like a small symbol of our troubling times. These balloons are frivolous man-made objects designed to spark a moment of joy, but inevitably they have longer lasting repercussions hidden from view.

My hope is that these photographs convey a sort of dystopic beauty that sparks discussion about climate change and humanity's impact on the environment, as they present an attractive veneer that breaks down on closer inspection. As we hurtle toward an unknown future, perhaps these broken, exploded balloons represent a cautionary tale; Or perhaps they symbolize what happens when we run out of time.

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