7 November 2011


My first realization that adults also suffer severe emotional stress and trauma came when I was about 7 years old. The incident is still vivid in my mind. A man came out of a bottle store in Stellenbosch and dropped his bottle of wine onto the dusty sidewalk and all that was left were a few shards of glass and a vinegary smell in the air. He sat down on the sidewalk and cried.

Last time I went into a bottle store (what a euphemism!) I bought a random bottle of wine and just took it home. When we opened it we discovered the bottle was made of plastic. Reading the label revealed that the plastic was re-cycled and supposedly of great benefit to the environment. To be honest I don’t know if this is good or bad and I don’t know how to prove whether it is more environmentally friendly than glass.

I decided to photograph the bottle for my green photo agency. Drinking the wine and driving a knife through the bottle was ok (although I realise I must hide the knives when I drink) but creating a good image with the wine in me was not that easy. I decided to empty a fresh bottle and use it the next day to do the photography. The bottle stayed in the kitchen for a couple of weeks with a knife stuck into it. How do you show a bottle is made of plastic? I never got past the knife in bottle idea.

I was not inspired when it came to the picture either and stuck with the clich├ęd sundowner idea. As I was unsure of what I was trying to illustrate the picture is rather stark too.

Wine fanciers need not worry as the wine was quite palatable. I really don’t know of the aging potential of the red as the bottles never really survive for any length of time around me. Maybe if you are clumsy, going hiking or get violent when you drink the plastic bottle is lighter and will cause less damage.

When I go to the beach I find hundreds of plastic bottles along the high tide mark. If I look on the rocks or beach I will find shards of glass and a few unbroken bottles. Maybe I would rather step onto a plastic wine bottle than some glass. Some glass bottles and some plastics are re-cycled. Perhaps I should just admit that I don’t know whether plastic bottles are good or perhaps better than glass. Maybe we should just improve our re-cycling and ensure that both the plastic and glass bottles end up in the correct re-cycling bin.

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