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Visualizing Trashy Dreams

Shaily Gupta’s work titled-‘Stop Garbage Stop’ uses photo manipulation to highlight the mounting urban crisis of garbage. She cleverly superimposes exuberant Bollywood film stills on to images of filthy garbage dumps. Bollywood films represent fantasy and aspiration. Typically, the classic Bollywood song sequence transports the viewers to dreamlike sceneries in exotic locations, far removed from reality. Shaily’s project turns this dream into a nightmare.

While returning from her neighbourhood park one morning in the summer of 2015, Shaily noticed a huge pile of garbage that appeared to have multiplied in recent years.  That image of piling up garbage haunted her. “I had visions of garbage slowly creeping into my life and home. Where would all this garbage go, I wondered helplessly?” The answer she found is “everywhere”. It is this terrifying thought that led Shaily to create her first set of photo-manipulated images. “We all know this is a problem but I didn’t want to preach. I wanted people to see the horror I felt – because the consequences of creating monstrous amount of waste is real”. Shaily decided to juxtapose iconic Bollywood images with the imminent crisis in a humorous way. The result is disturbing and impactful.

In September 2015, she found a perfect platform to exhibit her work with the public of her city. Delhi, I Love You (an NGO) and Karma Collection (a waste management firm) invited Shaily to collaborate on a campaign to create awareness about waste disposal. Four images from this project were blown up and displayed at over 50 garbage sites in Delhi.

View her surreal images that shatter the fantasy world and awaken the viewer to the disaster that is upon us.


About the author: Shaily Gupta is a Delhi based architect. A serious amateur photographer she loves to shoot on film, especially black and white. Her photography work deals with concerns about urbanity and development issues. Stop Garbage Stop is an extension of her angst against the ongoing urban insanity.

See more of Shaily’s work on her blog:



  • Reply liza Apr 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Fantastic!! 🙂

  • Reply Faisal Apr 11, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Great juxtaposition. What was the response? That is, did it help reduce the garbage?

  • Reply Kashmira Patel Apr 20, 2016 at 9:36 am

    LOVE the idea!

  • Reply Mahesh Ramchandani May 08, 2016 at 11:27 am

    great idea….hope it makes a difference…

  • Reply RR May 11, 2016 at 9:12 am

    great idea – hope it raises the much needed awareness of the people and the authorities and spurs them to dance up an action

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