Marissa Ciampi, Photography
Sustainability Microgrant Awardee 2015/16
For the past six years I’ve been working at a retail greenhouse, which is part of a larger 60-acre greenhouse corporation. This past summer was my first time working with the wholesale production of plants and it completely changed the way I looked at the flowers we sell. From the very start of production these plants are introduced to a chemical world, which inevitably alters their natural state by enhancing their growth, maturity, and appearance. Throughout my employment I have thought a lot about sustainability and how this business could be more environmentally friendly. Due to consumers’ high expectations of large and healthy plant life, employees simulate weather conditions, water daily, and spray chemicals for the plants to mature at an unnaturally fast rate. Since 2007, many efforts have been made to decrease greenhouse gas emissions; including using recycled waste oil to heat the 36 greenhouses on property. However, with the amount of chemicals, fertilizers, and oil used, the numbers are still too high. These pictures aim to show the unseen parts of greenhouse production, relationships between plants and the employees, and the dark side of plant rearing. By creating staged still lives of plants and the property, I am taking a micro- macro approach examining the earthy plant life and contrasting it with the industrial landscape. Although the use of chemicals and fertilizers intensify the appearance of the plants to meet a high standard of consumer expectations, a fabricated form of nature is being created in a very toxic and detrimental way that needs to be recognized.