In the Soup - Photographing Marine Plastic, with Mandy Barker: The B&H Photography Podcast

02/17/2022Link0

It’s worth the time to see the work of photographer Mandy Barker before listening to this episode. Take a glance at the B&H Photography Podcast homepage or Barker’s website to get a sense of the simple but imaginative images she creates; it will certainly enrich the experience of hearing her speak about photographing plastic garbage, which is what she has found to be her calling.

Of course, we’re being a bit facetious but, as we discover from our conversation with Barker, it really is the issue of marine plastic—the plastic waste that litters our oceans and beaches—that brought her to photography and continues to push her to create captivating images with the intention of bringing awareness to this increasingly severe problem.

The colorful and almost playful images she creates with marine plastic belie the tremendous damage this refuse is doing to ecosystems around the world, and in some cases, in the most remote of islands and coastal lands. It is this ability to create likeable images that draws people to her work, as seen in National Geographic, The Guardian, and VOGUE, and in her books, including 2019’s “Altered Ocean.”

With Barker we speak about her transition from graphic design to photography, about sketchbooks and process, and about the relatively basic Canon gear she uses. We also learn about the value of working with scientists on intense overseas expeditions and the incredible stories of lost or discarded items that have traveled across the globe. Join us for this fascinating conversation.

Guests: Mandy Barker

Photograph © by Mandy Barker

From the series, “Shelf Life”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Shelf Life”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Penalty”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Penalty”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Soup”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Soup”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Indefinite”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Indefinite”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
Mandy Barker on Henderson Island, Photograph © Luke Hosty
Mandy Barker on Henderson Island, Photograph © Luke Hosty
Mandy Barker on Henderson Island, Photograph © Luke Hosty
Mandy Barker on Henderson Island, Photograph © Luke Hosty
“Crown”, camera made from marine plastic, including plastic chicken feeder, Photograph © Mandy Barker
“Crown”, camera made from marine plastic, including plastic chicken feeder, Photograph © Mandy Barker
Coral entangled in plastic rope, photographed by the “Crown” camera, Photograph © Mandy Barker
Coral entangled in plastic rope, photographed by the “Crown” camera, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Sketchbook”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Sketchbook”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Still (FFS)”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Still (FFS)”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Still (FFS)”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
From the series, “Still (FFS)”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
“Nurdles”, from the series “Soup”, Photograph © Mandy Barker
“Nurdles”, from the series “Soup”, Photograph © Mandy Barker


Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner

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