Featured - Rebecca Joyce - "Static"

This weeks featured photographer currently lives in L.A. and aims to portray  a dying breed: payphones. Rebecca has created the series "Static" to portray and document the remaining payphones and how they fit into the modern life. But first here is what she has to say about her project:

"I was drawn to payphones years ago during my studies of the urban landscape. It has accelerated recently as I began to notice them disappearing -- sometimes without a trace, sometimes leaving behind their metal shell. They dot the urban landscape as totems of the past, enduring only in popular culture and the collective memory of people of a certain age -- I may be among the youngest people to recall using public telephones on a regular basis: asking parents for a ride home, or the occasional prank call.

The project overlaps my sociological interest in the changing nature of relationships and communication. The rise of mobile technology forces payphones and landlines into obsolescence, and gives us a sense of interconnectedness when modern communication can actually be impatient, rushed, and increasingly isolating. While shared instruments of communications in public spaces seem indiscrete, making time to have a conversation made conversation more intimate.

I named this project 'Static', both in reference to the sound of a bad connection compared to the relative clarity of modern phones, as well as the static nature of wired calls: staying in one place to focus on a conversation with someone. The nostalgic nature of this project deserved to be reflected in is medium, so I chose to make these photographs using film, both 35mm and medium format.

I photograph the phones along with their surrounding environments because it helps me identify their locations, but as the phones disappear, I’ve also noticed the surrounding businesses changing. In this case, both the phone and the burger restaurant are gone.

I photograph the phones along with their surrounding environments because it helps me identify their locations, but as the phones disappear, I’ve also noticed the surrounding businesses changing. In this case, both the phone and the burger restaurant are gone.

I live very close to the touristy part of Hollywood, which can present comical photo opportunities like these painted roll-up doors.

I live very close to the touristy part of Hollywood, which can present comical photo opportunities like these painted roll-up doors.

Or the opportunity to show Hollywood Boulevard as quiet, if you’re there to see it before the businesses open and the tourists come out to fill the street.

Or the opportunity to show Hollywood Boulevard as quiet, if you’re there to see it before the businesses open and the tourists come out to fill the street.

This project has also given me the opportunity to archive some of the street art in my city, such as this phone-themed mural in East Hollywood.

This project has also given me the opportunity to archive some of the street art in my city, such as this phone-themed mural in East Hollywood.

If you look carefully enough, a cook at this Mexican restaurant wasn’t happy with me taking pictures of the phone in front."

If you look carefully enough, a cook at this Mexican restaurant wasn’t happy with me taking pictures of the phone in front."

Things that once were essential to living and unimaginable to ever fade away suddenly lose their purpose. They simply get replaced by newer, faster and essentially better devices. This is what Rebecca portrayed in her series, and I really feel this sentimental feeling by looking at her images and reading her description. We will never know how many conversations were held through these payphones, neither how many good or bad news were told. It is kind of sad to see those fade away and eventually disappear. What once had value to people can lose its value only a few decades later. And that for me goes to show that even what we think now is state of the art, will one day just sit there and be outdated.

I would like to thank Rebecca for submitting her project and encourage you to check out her website and social media. Make sure to submit your work now too! If you have created a project / series you would like to share with us, please send an email to info@wasteoffilm.com with a selection of the most representative images, as well as a short description of the work itself. Thank you for your submissions.