New York: Alan Gastelum’s “East River And The Sanctum We Walk”

Here’s a story of one man’s trash becoming another man’s treasure. A resident of New York’s East River Promenade’s neighborhood, photographer Alan Gastelum has set out to raise awareness of the area’s trash problem through a collection of photographs titled “East River And The Sanctum We Walk.” He began shooting on September 1, 2011 and has continued on in an attempt to grasp the community’s attention to environmental issues around Brooklyn.


Gastelum asserts the promenade to be a personal sanctum; his daily walks, a source of peace and serenity – that is, until he realized that trash within the water banks between 10th street and the Williamsburg Bridge was not being cleared and was being washed away into the river and replaced with new trash.

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“The images of the garbage are more like portraits to me,” Gastelum tells The Huffington Post, “They’re portraits of the people who once owned these washed away items. Each image tells numerous stories and each object holds a sense of nostalgia and mystery.”

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The photographer has now joined forces with Partnerships for Parks to organize volunteer clean-up days and has applied for a $5,000 grant from Good magazine to install a debris-collecting boom in the area.

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