Garbage Pail kids were a series of trading cards originally released by Topps Company in 1985. Topps is well known for their long history of trading cards, mostly in the sports world, so the gross trading cards were something different for the company. The cards of course were a huge hit and started a great following. Some people still have a collection of cards, (guilty). And sometimes people still bug Netflix to get the GPK movie (which was a terrible box office flop) added to their streaming service. I mean, they have Gigli of all movies, it’s not like they’ll lose any customers by adding The Garbage Pail Kids Movie and helping me relive my childhood. And the DVD has been in my queue for like 4 years but there’s always a ‘long wait’ for it. They probably only have one copy and some jerk wad in Wisconsin or something is hoarding it. But I digress…
30 years later, this incredibly well done photo series takes a look at where the Garbage Pail Kids are now, all grown up and getting through daily life as adults.
St Louis based photographer Brandon Voges explains how this came to be:
About a year ago, my friend Jake Houvenagle (a very talented local Art Director and Designer) and I (Brandon Voges, commercial lifestyle photographer at Bruton Stroube Studios) went to lunch to hang out, talk ideas, and drink good beer. In the middle of our conversation, Jake tells me about this concept he has to shoot Garbage Pail Kids, 30 years later…as real people, in real situations, with backstories of how their lives have played out. I then proceeded to crap my pants, tell him of his genius and get super excited. I was a huge fan of Garbage Pail Kids and had a large collection as a kid. The idea of revisiting them, thinking through their story and shooting these portraits was a dream. We had to make this happen.
From there, we picked cards we thought would be good candidates and squeezed these shoots in when we could. It took us until now to get them all finished -shooting them in studio and on location around St. Louis. These are our first 6, with more in the works. This project has been a big, awesome, hilarious collaboration between a lot of fun folks…art direction, photography, retouching, writing, production, and more (see the list of credits below). Big thanks to everyone involved, it’s been a blast so far!
And now, onto the show…
Britt is the poster child for growing up tough. Her pit hair started growing early, and fast. Shaving did nothing, and as a poor family they had no money for laser treatment or waxing. She lived in a trailer with seven other extended family members, one of them being a touchy uncle who loved fondling her armpit hair. She turned to drugs at an early age. By 15, she had been to jail and rehab more times than the number of pit dreads under her arms. Britt turned things around the best she could, and now sober, she provides for her five kids working steadily at two jobs at the local truck stop and corner liquor store.
Barbara was a complete outcast when she first started using her own puke in her cooking. But now with all the free range, naturally prepared and sustainable products flooding the market, she’s made a very successful career as a private chef in Hollywood. She cooks for the stars and has multiple locations of Barb’s Re-Bites, specializing in intestinally marinated meats and stomach pickled organic veggies. She’s cooked for many A-list celebs, including Gweneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and Seal.
Tony did pretty well with the ladies in high school. They always wanted to get “under his skin,” curious what would be hiding under that zipper. In college, Tony partied hard, eventually dropped out, never to return. He was good with his hands, but unable to hold down a construction gig or any of the local assembly line jobs because of the safety concerns related to his loose skin. Tony decided he had a real gift, and took it to the stage. He has been headlining a low end Chippendales knock off in old town Vegas for the last 14 years.
Noah has become known for that optimistic smile. Born with no body, his options were limited. To survive, he begged for change in exchange for pencils. He spent most of his childhood homeless, but always had that smile. He knew he was destined for bigger things, body or not. With that smile and charm he worked his way from being homeless on the tough streets of New York, to being the founder and owner of Pencil Club, a monthly pencil delivery service that has 20,000 employees and is the #1 pencil retailer in 42 countries. A fun Noah fact: He now owns the high-rise office building that he once begged in front of.
Who would have thought that a child who suffered such a traumatic, life-threatening experience would grow up to be the regional manager of a drain clearing and plumbing business? Plumb Nutz was ranked in the top 900 businesses of Fairfax County (East division) and Duane has been helping people remove all sorts of goodies from choked pipes for the last 22 years. His horrible accident left him with a set of thin and flexible appendages which he now uses to snake through clogged drains, and, by tickling his toes, remove the culprits.
As a small child, Adam had no idea how much of an impact pressing that button would have on his life (and everyone else’s). He’s had to live with that horrible, juvenile decision for his entire life, in this wasteland that he created. He lost everyone and everything, and was the only one that survived the destruction. It’s been the source of major depression throughout his life (and his head). Although that dented head has healed, his heart has remained a wasteland.
See more of Brandon’s work at brutonstroube.com