Photographer Taryn Simon gives us a glimpse into the underworld of illicit commodities trying to get through federal inspection sites at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the busiest international air passenger gateway the United States.
All items in the photograph above were seized from the baggage of passengers arriving in the U.S. at JFK Terminal 4 from abroad over a 48-hour period. All seized items are identified, dissected, and then either ground up or incinerated. Some items include: African cane rats infested with maggots, African yams (dioscorea), Andean potatoes, Bangladeshi cucurbit plants, bush meat, cherimoya fruit, curry leaves (murraya), dried orange peels, fresh eggs, giant African snail, impala skull cap, jackfruit seeds, June plum, kola nuts, mango, okra, passion fruit, pig nose, pig mouths, pork, raw poultry (chicken), South American pig head, South American tree tomatoes, South Asian lime infected with citrus canker, sugar cane (poaceae), uncooked meats, unidentified sub tropical plant in soil. Other items include:
Ms. Simon’s full collection of photos from this series (over 1000 images) are featured in her book titled Contraband.