Last Picture is an anthology of photographs found by Jeff Ferrell while dumpster diving in the affluent western suburbs of Fort Worth. Ferrell is a consummate scavenger. He has been dumpster diving for years, an activity which gave rise to the book Empire of Scrounge (New York: NYU Press, 2005). As a scavenger, Ferrell’s primary motivation is to find things that are useful or valuable. His collection of discarded photographs is therefore something of an anomaly, and yet Ferrell keeps rescuing these photographs, intercepting them from their route to the landfill:
When you’re out there every day digging through dumpsters and trash piles, you realize that a lot gets lost — people’s lives, for instance. In fact most everything you find has in one way or another filtered out from the lives of those who once owned it, while still suggesting something of the pace and patterns by which they lived. An outgrown shirt, an old wrench, a box of tax returns, a garbage bag stuffed with toys — all are residues of decisions made, circumstances changed, opportunities taken or lost. But amidst all this ongoing detritus of daily life there’s one sort of item that especially stands out: the discarded photo. –Jeff Ferrell, Last Picture
The book includes a foreword by Gavin Morrison and Fraser Stables and an extended essay by Jeff Ferrell. The text provides the context for the images, how they exist as a type of byproduct from his dumpster diving and suggest some of the ways in which the archive can be read across anthropological, moral, and cultural frameworks.