British photographer Mandy Barker follows in the footsteps of 19th-century scientist John Vaughan Thompson who researched the wondrous world of plankton. In a similar way Barker shows how millions of tons of plastic plankton threaten life in the oceans.
Mandy Barker is an internationally acclaimed photographer who has gained a lot of recognition worldwide through her work on ‘ocean debris’. With her work she draws attention to the plastic pollution in our oceans and the harmful consequences for life in the sea and ultimately also for our society.
From September 5 to October 21, Barker will show her work ‘Beyond Drifting; Imperfectly Known Animals’ at BredaPhoto Festival. The series shows plastic particles in their ‘natural environment’, which inhabit our oceans as new organisms. These ‘Imperfectly Known Animals’ are a metaphor for the omnipresence of plastic in our modern society. As a scientist through his microscope Barker poses a worldwide gigantic problem by approaching it on a miniature scale.
About Mandy Barker
Barker exhibits her work worldwide and her photos have been published extensively. Among others by TIME, National Geographic, Wallpaper and GUP. In 2015 she won the LensCulture Earth Award with one of her series and was the winner of the International Photography Award in the Editorial Environmental Professiona category.
In 2012 she was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Environmental bursary enabling her to join scientists in a research expedition to examine the accumulation of marine plastic debris in the tsunami debris field in the Pacific Ocean. The opportunity – which sailed from Japan to Hawaii – allowed her to create the series SHOAL, whilst
providing a solid foundation for her continuing work and exposition on BredaPhoto Festival.
Artist Statement (from her website)
“The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work. The impact of oceanic waste is an area I am committed to pursuing through visual interpretation and in collaboration with science, hoping it will ultimately lead to positive action in tackling this increasing environmental problem.”