Behind the scenes with Mandy Barker

Mandy Barker works closely with scientists to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

Her passion for highlighting the harmful affect of plastic pollution on marine life takes her on voyages all over the world.

In 2012, Barker joined a research expedition which sailed from Japan to Hawaii to examine the accumulation of marine plastic debris in the tsumani debris field in the Pacific Ocean.

In June 2017 she was invited to join Greenpeace on the Beluga II Expedition which sailed around the remote and unique island locations of the Inner Hebrides, Scotland, to recover plastic debris.

Barker’s most recent voyage led her to one of the most remote parts of the world, Henderson Island, which sits 5000km from the nearest landmass. In June 2019, she visited the island with scientists, filmmakers, a clean up crew, journalists and divers. Despite being so far away from human contact, one of the island’s beach was found by scientists to be the most densely plastic polluted beaches on the planet.

Barker’s projects are then developed through collating ideas and concepts in sketchbooks. The sketchbooks give an insight into the creative process Barker undertakes to produce her work.

The World from the series Penalty

This photograph shows 769 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) collected from 41 countries and islands around the world, from 144 different beaches and by 89 members of the public in just 4 months.

Barker aims to create awareness about the issue of marine pollution by focusing attention on the football as a single plastic object and global symbol that could reach an international audience.

769 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) collected from 41 countries and islands around the world, from 144 different beaches and by 89 members of the public in just 4 months.

Soup

‘Soup’ is the term for plastic debris suspended in the sea. It particularly refers to the mass accumulation in the North Pacific Ocean widely known as the ‘Garbage Patch’.

The plastics photographed for this series have been collected from beaches around the world. They represent a global collection of debris that demonstrates the mass of plastic in our seas.

Barker says, ‘This series concerns the relationship that sea creatures have with plastics. The creatures are initially attracted to the plastics and attempt to eat them, leading ultimately to their death.’

Listen to Barker talking about the Soup photographs here:

Click on each image to look more closely. The captions list the ‘ingredients’ that have been assembled to make the soup in each image.

SOUP: BIRD’S NEST
SOUP: RUINOUS REMEMBRANCE
LIGHTER from the series HONG KONG SOUP: 1826
SOUP: 500+
WILDLIFE from the series HONG KONG SOUP: 1826
SOUP: BURNT
SOUP: REFUSED