The New York Times Magazine recently ran a series of photos by Taryn Simon of items seized at New York’s JFK International Airport. She shot them over a period of five days for her upcoming book and exhibition “Contraband”.
Taryn Simon lived in John F Kennedy International Airport from November 16 through November 20, 2009. JFK processes more international passengers than any other airport in the United States. Contraband includes photographs taken 24 hours a day of over 1000 items detained or seized from passengers and express mail entering the U.S. from abroad. Over five days, in both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Site and the U.S. Postal Service International Mail Facility, Simon documented items including counterfeit American Express travelers checks, overproof Jamaican rum, heroin, a dead hawk, an illegal Mexican passport, purses made from endangered species, Cuban cigars, counterfeit Disney DVDs, khat, gold dust, GHB concealed as house cleaner, cow manure tooth powder, counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags, prohibited sausage, undeclared jewelry, steroids and an ostrich egg.