Timothy Bouldry | A Changing Chureca

La Chureca, a landfill in Nicaragua, has been home to 1800 people since they were displaced suddenly due to a devastating earthquake in 1972. My photographs in this series – taken over the course of more than five years – document the continuing struggle, but also the progress in this community. In 2007, the Spanish government provided a grant to create a methane gas into energy project, providing employment for some through a recycling factory and an upgrade from plastic huts laying alongside this 4.5 square mile landfill into concrete homes for the residents now living in a newly built community.

Today, the people of La Chureca are learning to adjust to their new situation. For most, life is easier, but some still need to sift through the trash that is not handled by the sorting factory. All in all, I see La Chureca as a model to improve and develop better solutions for other landfill dependent communities around the world, and in using the medium of photography I hope to bring the beauty, power, and hope of this place into the awareness of a larger audience.

For me, photographing landfills is a transcendent activity. It allows me to experience on a visceral level relationships between the land, the people, the trash, the environment, climate change, and the interconnectedness of all elements. In a world in a race to advance itself, it is important to not only build new things – it is even more important to care for and nurture people and regions that already exist and have been destabilized as a result of this advancement.

– Timothy Bouldry

Timothy Bouldry photographs and educates people about landfill activity and the people who live from them. His published photographs were used by activists to present to the House of Representatives, The US Senate and The Organization of American States. He was interviewed on shows in Mexico and Nicaragua. The US EPA showcased his photographs and videos at the Vancouver Convention Center during the Methane Expo. Bouldry created an Executive Management Team under the non-profit Right Path Projects and working with an organization called em[POWER] Energy Group to raise money for landfill dependent communities on a global level. His work will expand into the Middle East, Asia and beyond.