Street Furniture - Rubbish Bins

Walking through the lovely town of Takaka in Golden Bay recently I discovered the most beautiful little spot. It is so rich in interesting and beautiful content it's quite amazing. The most content rich spot I've found in New Zealand. A photographer's dream.

This picture shows the spot I'm talking about:

This is what I noticed when I got to this spot:

  • Hanging baskets in front of the cafe.
  • Hanging baskets on the left.
  • A palm tree in a pot.
  • A bench on the left with people sat enjoying the weather.
  • Cafe seating on the right, with people eating and drinking.
  • People walking along the pavement.
  • Pelargoniums in planters on the right.
  • An attractive 'arty' coffee sign on the left.

I stopped with my camera, and looked for the best composition. I found it sitting down between the planters. Perfect! I had pelargoniums in the foreground, and everything else I've listed nicely around the frame.

At this point you may be thinking "this is a very odd start to an article about rubbish bins". Or you may have spotted the problem already. Yes, in one of the best photogenic urban places in the whole of New Zealand, someone has placed an ugly red rubbish bin, right at the end of the planters. There is no way to take a picture and include the pelargoniums in the foreground without also getting the rubbish bin included in the picture.

This is not the perfect composition, but it demostrates the problem:

And to make matters worse, someone has also placed rubbish bins on the left!

It was at this point I started making notes of the rubbish bins in Takaka. This was the first infringement of common sense I found. A beautiful wooden building, with metal rubbish bins placed right in front of it. Not just one bin, but two, a red and a green:

Here they are again from a different angle:


There are generally two types of street furniture, attractive furniture and ugly furniture. The metalwork around the tree trunks in the pictures above, are IMO, attractive, and enhance the appearance. They add interest while not being eyesores. Rubbish bins and many other forms of street furniture however tend to be quite ugly and obtrusive, and do nothing but detract from the general appearance.

It would be good if:

  • More care was taken in the design of street furniture, with thought being given to appearance, from all angles.
  • More care was taken in placement. Please don't ruin the most beautiful urban spots with ugly bins.

I have also written an article on Christchurch Street Furniture.

Written on 12th February 2011 by Steve