Friday, January 8, 2010

Use it, throw it away

I sometimes feel that photographically, snow is a bit limiting once you get over the novelty. Unless it starts to take on interesting textures. I found a couple of abandoned objects in the Pembroke Road. and this is one of them. Luckily there were pellets of snow on the wall. I saw the hand cream and also that there was some left. Perhaps someone was ministering to their chapped hands or perhaps this is just a case of the alarming tendency to throw things away before they're used. In remoter parts of the world this would be an opportunity that would not be missed. In the end my photograph looked like an advertisement - so where's my fee? The tube no more than a vessel in symbolic terms, but the toothpaste style tube is iconic. Indeed there is a law which can be applied to squeezing contents from this kind of container - the law of diminishing marginal returns! Roughly speaking, for each increasing unit of effort that you put into squeezing, you get smaller and smaller returns on your effort, to a point where you don't feel it's worth it. Think of it as if you were paying someone to squeeze the tube for you - at some stage the small amount of cream recovered would be quite costly. So perhaps this represents the perilous state of our recent collective finances. We're putting more and more effort into the economy, with diminishing returns of anything of real value.