When British environmental photographer, Mandy Barker, arrived on UNESCO World heritage listed Henderson Island, in the remote territory of the Pitcairn Islands, she said “The item of plastic that stood out most were the hundreds of fishing buoys that littered the shoreline of this unique and remote uninhabited island, scattered around like planets in a marine solar system”.
This surreal landscape inspired her project ‘Lunasea’ shown by 72 ‘moons’ that represent Henderson eclipsed by plastic, and ‘SHELF-LIFE’ which features the recovered plastic objects.
These provocative images reflect current scientific research and the effects plastic debris pollution has on the ocean, marine life and ultimately ourselves.
Speaking about her two week stay on Henderson Mandy said, “It was one of the most incredible opportunities of my life to have been part of the Henderson Island Expedition, to experience an island and reserve of such outstanding natural beauty and significance was an absolute honour. It is now my responsibility through the new work created, to engage the world with the plastic pollution crisis, from the objects recovered from this remote, uninhabited location. It is a great pity I had to visit for this reason, but the over consumption and unnecessary use of plastic is an issue that I am dedicated to represent”.
As Pitcairn is home to one of the world’s largest marine protected areas (834,000 sq kms), the work Mandy and others do to bring attention to this global crises helps ensure no effort is spared in protecting our fragile marine environment for generations to come.
Mandy and team with the Bounty Anchor on Pitcairn
Henderson’s North Beach - a pristine environment threatened by global plastic pollution. Photo credit ARC
To support the promotion Pitcairn Islands Tourism is giving away a copy of Mandy’s 2019 released 144-page book “Altered Ocean”. The book is a comprehensive catalogue of Mandy Barker's photographic works exposing the crisis of plastic pollution in the world's oceans. To enter to win a copy of “Altered Ocean”, visit http://bit.ly/EnterToWinAlteredOcean
Marine plastic debris fishing buoy recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019.
(Background includes; moving plastic pieces from Henderson).
“When I arrived on Henderson the item of plastic that stood out most were the hundreds of fishing buoys that littered the shoreline of this unique and remote uninhabited island, scattered around like planets in a marine solar system. Combined with the stunning coral landscape, I was inspired to create work that reflected both the amount, and size of the buoys, alongside the natural environment of the island itself. The coral reef and shoreline, which has been weathered over hundreds of years reminded me of the surface of the moon, and also of the fact that the plastic, now abundant in this environment will also last for hundreds of years. I arrived at the name LUNA to represent this unique and inaccessible island, and SEA to represent the plastic that has journeyed here, creating the series LUNASEA.”
12 marine plastic debris fishing buoys recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019, (from a total of 72). These images show eclipses of the ‘moons’ from other plastic objects that landed on Henderson.
“I photographed hundreds of buoys in the cave on East beach, this became my temporary studio, sheltered from the wind, with a single directional light source, and with space to think. The cave was also inhabited by all sorts of other creatures including crabs, and earlier in the year by turtles who had since left, leaving tracks showing how they had to weave around the plastic objects, to enable them to head out to sea.”
Coral landscape of Henderson Island, June 2019.
(Background includes; coral dust from Henderson, projected through smoke made from finely ground coral particles (no plastic debris in this image).
“This image of the ‘moon’ contains no plastic, it is instead a ‘sphere’ of coral, from the landscape of the island. One of 8 ‘New Moons’ to inspire a glimpse of the beauty of the island environment itself - without plastic, and to serve as a metaphor to the hope that Henderson will eventually return to its natural primitive state”
Recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019
“Before we arrived at Henderson in June 2019, a recce for the expedition took place in March 2019 to check access. During this visit a photograph was taken by one of the islanders of a grey plastic toy horse in the sand. I saw the horse as being such an ironic item of washed up plastic, and imagined headlines such as ‘new endemic species found on remote island, the ‘Henderson Horse’. I knew I had to find the horse when we went in June, and sure enough it was still there. The horse became a symbol for me, firstly because a horse could never live on this island, but more importantly it represented for me the other affected species that did. I still think about the journey it must have travelled to reach Henderson and I photographed it all the way back home on the different transport back to England.”
3” pieces of fishing net recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019
When the team discussed what the most alarming item of plastic was that we came across on Henderson, one of the team mentioned a fishing net partially buried in the sand that on touching, it turned to dust, and a fine green powder covered the shore.
This image makes reference to microplastics, and the small items of plastic buried in the sand, by using small lengths of fishing line recovered on East beach to represent the stunning coral reefs that surround the island, but at the same time being mindful that these pieces of plastic have travelled through them.
Plastic containers eaten by turtles, sharks, or fish – shows bite marks where teeth have been, recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019
(Includes; bottles & containers of bleach, hydrogen peroxide, shampoo, conditioner, oil, cleaning fluid, and various food & beverage containers)
“It was shocking to see the amount of plastic with bite marks in them, attempted ingestion of the plastic by fish, sharks and turtles. Recovered containers and bottles of all shapes and sizes arranged in this image make us question if there are creatures out there with these missing pieces in their stomachs? and about the contamination of this once pristine natural environment . Whilst photographing vessels that once held hazardous chemicals, the containers seemed to take on the forms and shapes reminiscent of sea creatures, the very materials that prove fatal to the animals and organisms themselves.”
‘War on Plastic’ - How can we fight plastic pollution?
Assortment of plastic toy soldiers recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019
REFUSE or REDUCE single-use plastics, AVOID products containing microbeads or synthetic clothes that contain microfibres, SUPPORT bans and SIGN petitions.
“Many toy plastic soldiers were found on Henderson, along with jeeps, and toy wheels. The image shows an assortment of figurines recovered with the main soldier in the foreground wearing a gas mask, implying the need to cover up from the scourge that plastic brings. The soldiers are arranged as if on the seabed, discussing the problem of plastic — themselves plastic pollutants.”
Plastic products showing more than 45 different brands recovered from Henderson Island, June 2019
(Includes; Adidas, Canon, Castrol, Coca Cola, Colgate, Daewoo, Disneykins, Dunlop, Epson, Fujica, Gillette, Gordons, Harpic, Koozie, Lego, Mead Johnson, McDonalds, Mobil, Mondelez, Nescafe, Nestle, Nivea, Nomen, Oral B, Pilot, Pixy, Proal, Procter & Gamble, Reebok, Reckitt Benckiser, Ronson, Schick, SC Johnson, Sharpie, Shell, Singer, Sony, Sure, Syngenta, Puma, Unilever, Union, Virutex, Wahaha, Zara)
“It was evident from first stepping foot onto the East beach of Henderson that there were many products with branded logos and symbols. This image represents a selection of over 45 different objects and pieces of plastic which was identifiable by name or logo. The image represents that no one corporate organisation is solely responsible for the issue and waste globally and on Henderson and that it will take an international effort to effectively manage and change behaviour to address the current and critical issue of plastic pollution.”
Mandy Barker is an international award-winning photographer whose work involving marine plastic debris over the past 10 years has received global recognition. Working with scientists she aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world's oceans, highlighting the harmful affect on marine life and ourselves - ultimately leading the viewer to take action. More about Mandy can be viewed at her website https://www.mandy-barker.com
On March 18th, 2015, The British Government decided to establish one of the largest Marine Reserves in the World around the Pitcairn Islands. At 324,000 sq miles (834,000 sqkm) The Pitcairn Marine reserve offers protection to some of the most pristine waters and coral reefs on earth. The People of Pitcairn Island are extremely proud about the designation of one of the World’s Largest Marine Reserves in our vast and unspoiled waters, including Ducie, Oeno and Henderson Islands. More information can be viewed Here.
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