Ocean Trash Photo Collages by Mandy Barker
‘soup’ is a description that is given to the plastic debris that is suspended in the sea. it is a title which makes particular reference
to the mass accumulation of refuse that exists in the area of the north pacific ocean, also known as the ‘garbage patch’.
in researching this, UK photographer mandy barker developed a series of images entitled ‘soup’ which depicts these plastics
and discarded items salvaged from beaches around the world. the work is a means of representing a global collection of refuse
that exists within the earth’s oceans for various amounts of time.
for each still, individual pieces of plastic are photographed on a black background as well as in combination with other
articles of a similar size. barker then overlays these images with one another, illustrating the smallest up to the largest items of trash,
creating a feeling of depth and suspension in the final visual. the sequence of the photographs reveal a narrative
which begins with the initial attraction of plastics to sea creatures, their attempted ingestion, ending with their ultimate death
represented through ‘soup: ruinous remembrance’. ‘soup: 500+’ wraps up the collection of photos, a complete contrast to the earlier images,
portraying the fatal consequence of ingestion by illustrating a more compact arrangement. it suggests how the plastics
would have existed in close proximity to each other when within the stomach of a dead sea creature.
through the series, barker aims to engage with and stimulate an emotional response within the viewer,
resulting in a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction and an awareness of the disturbing statistics of
dispersed plastics having no boundaries, ultimately ending with the death of marine life.
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