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Pierre Obando

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White Castle is a chain fast food for those who are wondering. They had a prehistory of priding themselves on cleanliness. That might have something to do with the pristine grid backdrop for the plastic milk crates I have photographed. These pictures are of crate stacks next to the back door of a White Castle near my apartment. These stacks result from empty crates being stacked out back where they are out of the employee’s way. These pictures were taken on different days, usually early in the morning. Their arrangement in this book is chronological.


While I was taking these pictures I began to notice an uncanny aspect to the crate stacks I found. Sometimes there was none of the text showing on the crates. Sometimes the arrangements were symmetrical, or seemed composed. Compare the first picture to the second to last picture and you can see why I would think so. I suspected that some of the arrangements were more than chance. Several employees at White Castle knew that I was taking these pictures. I think that some of them started to take greater care in how they stacked the crates because I was showing up with my camera. With my pictures of crates, I feel I am finding value in what is generally perceived as not having any. - The pictures form White Castle made me think of this in another way. A fair amount of White Castle’s payroll went into this series of pictures. If any of the employees were my collaborators, then they weren’t just stacking, they were also stepping back and looking at what they had done. Looking takes time, minutes on the clock. Add up the minutes from different days and you get hours. So instead of only finding value in these crates, apparently, here I was also stealing paid time to employees from White Castle.

Pierre Obando
New York, NY
New York
North America

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