Last photo taken

Interaction Design • p5js
Last Photo Taken is a means of noticing undesirable objects within our environment. It is an attempt to explore the relationship with our own personal items on the basis of empathy and care.


Part of living in the city means coming across a discarded object is part of your daily ritual. Most occurrences at these frequencies are quickly pushed out of the mind’s eye, but it had always stuck with me.

When did this object lose its value? Why was it discarded? How many times has it been discarded? Is there something we can do to bring value back to the object?

Can empathy be used as a way for us to better care for our objects?
Discarded objects from my camera roll
On each translucent page, trace the objects you have multiples of, each on a separate page. Objects of minimal quantity will soon disappear.


Empathy is explored through two common practices.

First, discarded objects, in effect, are seeing the end of their life. To experience this in a way we commonly experience the passing of loved ones, we must also view objects through the lens of end-of-life practices.

Second, the idea of a receipt as a record of transaction. In this scenario, the transaction isn’t one of a sale, but of the values and meanings associated with the object. If we receive a receipt when we acquire an object, can we not also produce one upon discarding?
To reinforce the idea of a past life, objects are captured before and after they are broken. In their broken state, they’re contrasted by an image of their unbroken selves.

The line items on the receipt can almost be poignant at times as they highlight moments you shared with your object. It’s this last transaction that deserves further thought.

Pairing the image along with the receipt lets us imagine a life without these objects before we even let them go. It’s a reminder that, in our engagements with objects, we’re not the only party involved.


Objects were scoured from the surrounding neighborhood. While the reading of each object is different for each person, perhaps most universally understood are the ones pertaining to childhood, and objects from which we can derive human qualities, such as a chair (the legs of a chair).

Each object was captured in its ‘before’ stage against the backdrop of the location it was found. They stand defiantly, as if called in for headshots.

In contrast, their broken selves spell defeat, and nothing else. Irreparable, irreversible, irreplaceable.


The objects were exhibited in an interactive format involving a barcode scanner, receipts, and two monitors. The End of Life Receipts, titled In Disposium, are gathered in a pile on a table.

For each barcode scanned, an object appears on the screen before you. The object remains on the screen as it slowly fades back to black.

An accompanying screen loops a video of three objects, each beginning framed shot of the picture of its former self, and dollying out to reveal its broken self before it. The video is accompanied by Pull It Away by Siskiyou.
Pictured — Yash Goyal
Pictured — Yash Goyal
Special thanks — Molly Chen, Hiroki Nakagawa, Cecil Green, Karolina Luckiewicz, Yash Goyal, Olivier Brückner. Music by Siskiyou.