Keegan Landfill- Kearney, NJ
The two images I chose to analyze was one of the actual landfills and one of a protest rallies that was happening outside of the landfill. I believe these images are important, because they show one the conditions of the landfill and all if the different contents of it. It also shows what materials where the cause of the fumes and toxic smells that the residents were experiencing. The photo of the residents from all age groups, telling the people that own the landfill and the Mayor that this landfill needed to be close and that it is affecting everyone.
In the first image of the Landfill was taken by a photographer from the Hudson Reporter one of the newspapers that have been following the closure of this landfill since the beginning. The image was posted in the newspaper in November of 2019. The image of the landfill is a powerful one because it shows you that it was not just construction debris being place in the dump, but other material as well. You can see that there is a tire that was thrown away in the landfill, which is where me eye first went to when I saw the photo. You also can see tons of what look like cloths or material of all different colors and throughout the landfill. The colors of the materials are bright and colorful which brings you to look deeper into the picture, to see what other material was placed there.
When you start to look deeper you see sheetrock that is in different stages of decay and building materials such as insulation, bricks, dirt, just piled on top of each other. You can see the material was taken from the different construction sites and just dump without any care. I believe the attended audience is the general public. The reason this is to produce a sense of shock and awe, that this happening in their backyard. So, that the people that are not familiar with the site or the town can see the damage of what was happening, how it was happening and why the residents of this town was standing up and making the NJSEA and the leaders of their town take notice and actually do something about it.
When you look at the photograph you do not really take it all in, you have to take it in by bits and pieces to realize the type of junk and trash that is being dump in this landfill. A landfill that was attended for construction materials and waste. There is more in this landfill then sheetrock, brick, and wood. There is dirt, clothes, materials and other trash that has no place in this type of landfill. Which supports the residents of Kearny complaints about illegal dumping and liquid material leaking out of the landfill. This led to poisonous gas coming from the landfill and effecting the air that the people were breathing and causing health concerns. The picture speaks volumes of what is in the landfill and what is happening at the site. It is a colorful image if why the town of Kearny wanted this land fill close and filled and replace with something that matters.
In the second image we are looking at one of many protest rallies that was held to get the landfill closed. There are people holding signs with different sayings saying close the dump, toxic smell, and everything of that nature. The photo was taken for the Observer, which was one the newspaper covering the story of the closing of the landfill. This photo was taken to highlight the event of the protest and to bring awareness of what was happening. The photo was taken for general public and for residents of other communities. This photo was to show that there are everyday people caring about what was happening in their community and that they are worried about the side effects that was happening to their children and the elderly of the community. They wanted to highlight that this was an important issue that needed to be looked at. It was to bring awareness of an issue that people brush off either because they are not aware of it, or not sure what getting involved is going to do for them. This picture is just one of many showing protestors hold signs in front of the landfill and in front of the local community leader’s office.
In the image my eye first goes to the little girl first standing in the front of the group, the reason this is because there are mostly adults there and you wonder why they put the little girl up front so that the camera can see her and make notice. Then as we look at the pictures you see the signs of saying close Keegan, save the planet, Kearny kids matters and No dumping. While the Close Keegan sign is bright yellow and should be the sign that draws you in it something that you look at and then move on with the rest of the picture. The Kearny kids matter sign makes it known that they are worried more then the smell and how it is disrupting their lives, they are also worried about the damage it is having to the children of the community. The adults on the blowhorns are probably either saying things to have the crowd repeat or stating the facts of having the dump open. This goes to show that there is leadership and that the protest was well planned out and that people wanted to participate in this and that this something that matters to everyone.
These images of the Kearny landfill make it real; it makes the issue one that people must take notice of and one that is important to the community. The picture of the landfill is to show how that the dump is being misused, it is showing different people who read the newspapers that this is happening and that we as people need to stand up for what is wrong and what is happening. It is making sure that people of the community are aware of he steps that are being taken to make their community safer and that there are people who care about what is happening to them. Kearny landfill is one of the last landfills to still be operational near the Meadowlands marsh area, and it was an uphill battle for these leaders to get it close. This issue points to how businesses and towns will fight hard for something that is profitable to them even if it is causing harm to other people. They are fighting because of the interest it serves them, he community leaders are fight because of the harm it was doing, and they did not give up they wanted to make sure that their voice was heard. In the end it paid off the landfill is getting closed and the community and start to heal from the damage that was done.
WORKSHEET 1: Image Analysis
Follow the steps in this worksheet to help uncover details, relationships, and, in the end, meanings embedded in an image that you might miss if you only focus on the image’s content. The formal analysis is the important first tool for interpreting images in the environmental humanities.
FOCAL POINT: Write down and describe the first site in the image where your eyes are drawn to.
- In the first image my eye is drawn to the tire in the middle of the picture. Then it foes to the different color material that is spread out through the landfill.
DIRECTION OF MOVEMENT WITHIN THE PICTURE FRAME: Note where your eyes are drawn to next, traveling from one place to another across the image. See if you can create a narrative from the string of visual scenes and relationships among component parts. What might the progression of visual elements mean?
- In the picture my eyes go from right to left and then up and down, From the tire to the color of the material to the different debris that is in the landfill. It also goes to the height of the landfill and how much waste is in the landfill
SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS: Look to see if there are any spatial divisions in the image that reflect different zones of activity.
-In this particular picture the spatial relationship is trying to show how much waste is in the landfill and the amount of waste that was put in there over the years that the dump has been operational. It tries to show you from top to bottom so that you can see the different types of waste in the landfill.
COLOR: Note which features share the same color. Which ones are brightest, darkest, and dimmest. Can you make any judgments about these differences, including how the elements may be understood in relation to the others?
- The Color that is the brightest is the red of the material and then the dark brown almost black color of the dirt that is in the landfill. I think they wanted us to realize that there is more in this landfill that meets the eye.
SCALE/SIZE: Compare the sizes of the various visual elements. Larger size generally correlates with greater importance.
- The largest thing in the picture is the tire compare to the rest of the waste that is in the landfill. It was trying to get our attention that this landfill was not just a construction waste site it is also used for other material as well.
CONTRASTS: Note how some visual elements play off each other. These contrasts serve to accentuate differences and/or exaggerate the separate qualities of each. Conversely, little contrast can communicate likeness or similarity.
- The different colors that they chose to highlight and make it stand out more then just the different debris that is hanging around in the landfill.
INDIVISUAL ACTORS & DETAILS: Write down any other details that don’t seem to fit a pattern yet seem important for understanding the image.
-How large the actual landfill is and how far it goes.
ABSENCES: Can you think of something that is conspicuously missing from the picture?
- Some of the obvious construction materials, you don’t see the wood or flooring and padding that they use in the walls.
VALUES & MEANINGS: List some of the values you think the image maker is expressing through these visual relationships and elements. Try to state a takeaway message or two that you can then verify with other sources.
- That images speak louder then words sometimes that people value what they see and are more prone to act if they see something, especially since we live in a visual world now. Images play a big role in having people respond to situations.
WHERE TO GO NEXT: List other sources you can turn to find out more information about the image.
- An image search is the best place to start. Looking at maps of the area and how things are by using Google maps and Google image is what going to get your search off to a perfect spot.
Keywords: toxic, air. pollution, soil, water