When photographer Brian Grech heard how people were hoarding toilet paper because of the coronavirus pandemic – he turned his fascination for this bizarre and basic human behaviour into beautifully haunting images.
“Ever since the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world, it fascinated me how people were hoarding toilet paper when there are so many more important things for survival – like food… I wanted to glamorise toilet paper and make it look like a luxury commodity item that is sought after,” Grech said.
Titled the Carta Mondana series, the photos include images of toilet paper shaped into a candle, ready for a romantic candle-lit dinner. There is an image of a roll wrapped around a flower with the Maltese caption “smell of flowers.”
Another tongue-in-cheek image shows toilet paper going through a Louis Vuitton designer wallet captioned: “Loo-V-tone. This season's sellout”.
But this humorous tone occasionally gives way to a more serious theme like the image of toilet paper protected under a glass globe with the caption: “My white toilet paper is safe and protected, while humans are dying at sea” – a clear reference to the refusal of the Maltese government to rescue migrants stranded in Maltese waters.
Like many creative peoples, ever since the pandemic started in Malta in March, Grech – who has been a photographer for 22 years - has been spending most of his time at home since a lot of his jobs have been put on hold.
He has been working hard at remaining creative, starting off by revisiting a childhood passion for drawing - with a modern twist. He explored the world of digital paintings, focusing on portraits. Now, his current project is the Carta Mondana one. After that, he will seek further inspiration - even if it is limited to his home.
“My appeal goes to people in the creative industry. I’ve seen many posting things they did in the past. This can be a time to look back, get nostalgic and assess our past. But we should all make an effort to look forward and create things with what we have now. Let’s make the best of the present and look to the future,” he says.