I think it’s hard for anyone who spends even a little bit of time around the ocean to ignore the fact that there is a lot of trash in the water. Whether it’s stuff visibly floating or at the tide line it is there in larger quantities every year.
Mandy Barker grew up on the east coast of England and experienced the growth of plastic trash washing up on the beach in increasing amounts when she was young. This spurred her on to document it and bring it into the public conversation. Her work however is not just simple documentation but rather uses the images of the trash that she has collected to create images that resemble images of that natural world such as the image above.
I really enjoy seeing behind the scenes, to better understand how other people create. Mandy provides that with a look into her sketchbooks that she uses to develop ideas that she may then work up into a final piece. Take a look at her sketch books here.
Listen to Mandy talk about her work below and do check out her website and books.
Pete McBride is an award winning photographer whose commercial and editorial work has taken him to 60 countries. His most powerful work, for me at least, started with a simple question ‘How long would it take the water in the local creek to reach the sea?’. That simple question led him on a 3 year, 1500 mile quest to document the colorado river from source to sea resulting in the book The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict and the award winning short film Chasing Water.
Why do we photograph? There are at least as many answers to this question as there are photographers. Chris Jordan‘s work shines a bright light on American Consumerism and it’s impact on the environment. The work that I most personally connect with are his photographs of the baby albatrosses on the Midway atoll in the pacific. The baby albatrosses’s stomachs are filled with plastic that their parents have mistakenly fed them with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch causing them to starve to death. The midway video can be seen below.
Ketchum has used his photography to champion environmental awareness much like his friend and mentor Eliot Porter had done. He has worked to shine a spotlight on areas as diverse as the Hudson River Valley, California’s Big Sur coast, Alaska’s Tongass rainforest, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River Valley and, most recently, to Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska. His work in Bristol Bay is in opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine which given it’s location would likely have a dramatic impact on the salmon fisheries in that area.
Beyond his environmental activism, Ketchum continues to explore the possibilities of the digital darkroom. Watch him describe some of his digital creations below.
I had a birthday recently and one of the gifts that I received was Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, a retrospective of Burtynsky’s work that features essays by Lori Pauli, Kenneth Baker and Mark Haworth-Booth. An added bonus, for me at least, is an interview with the Burtynsky by Michael Torosian, originally published in the Lumiere Press title ‘Residual Landscapes‘. Burtnynsky’s work focuses on the impact of man on the landscape, his large format pictures of the damaged landscape, from mountains of tires to rivers of bright orange waste from a nickel mine, are really quite impressive but really make you stop and wonder what are we doing to the planet?
Burtynsky won the 2005 TED Prize, his TED presentation is in the video below. To find out more about Burtnysky click here.