Spectacular High Fashion Rises From a Landscape of Trash
Photographer Fabrice Monteiro conjures the specter of environmental ruin
When Fabrice Monteiro returned to his native West Africa after 20 years abroad, he longed to go surfing. But old fishing nets matted the shoreline; blood from slaughterhouses gushed into the sea; plastic bags festooned the trees like black leaves. “It was a shock for me to find how polluted everything had become,” the photographer says. To spotlight Senegal’s gravest ecological problems, Monteiro teamed up with Ecofund, an environmental group, for a series of photographs starring a “djinni,” or supernatural genie, warning of mankind’s folly in a way that local children might also understand. This djinni, wearing a costume by the Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy using garbage layered according to the time it takes to decompose, looms over a vast trash-burning site outside Dakar where 1,300 tons of waste are deposited each day. The djinni looks away from the camera—toward, depending on your view, a greener horizon, or a smoking abyss.