Mandy Barker is an international award-winning photographer whose work involving
marine plastic debris has received global recognition. Working with scientists she aims
to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world's oceans whilst highlighting
the harmful affect on marine life and ultimately ourselves.
Barker's work has been published in over 40 countries including; National Geographic,
TIME Magazine, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Smithsonian, The New Scientist,
The Explorer's Journal, UNESCO, The British Journal of Photography, FOAM Magazine,
GUP, and The RPS Journal. She has exhibited internationally from Inner Mongolia, China,
to the United Nations Headquarters, including the Aperture Foundation in New York, the
Victoria & Albert Museum and Photographers' Gallery in London, and the Science &
Technology Park in Hong Kong.
Barker was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Award SPACE 2017, the world's leading photography
award for sustainability, and also nominated for the Deutsche Borse Foundation Photography
Prize 2018 and the Magnum Foundation Fund. She is a recipient of the 2018 National
Geographic Society Grant for Research and Exploration. Her first book 'Beyond Drifting:
Imperfectly Known Animals' was selected as one of the Ten Best Photography Books of 2017,
by Smithsonian. Barker is a member of the Union of Concerned Photographers UCP,
presented by WeTransfer which is dedicated to using the power of imagery to underline the
urgency of environmental concerns.
In 2012 she was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Environmental Bursary enabling
her to join scientists in a research expedition which sailed from Japan to Hawaii to examine
the accumulation of marine plastic debris in the tsunami debris field in the Pacific Ocean.
In June 2017 she was invited by Greenpeace to join the Beluga II Expedition which sailed
around the remote and unique island locations of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland to recover
marine plastic debris in a commission for Greenpeace. In 2019 she will be taking part in research
expeditions alongside scientists to some of the most remote locations in the world.
Barker speaks internationally about her work to engage people with the issue, having been
invited as a guest speaker to the National Geographic Photography Seminar 2018, Washington
DC, Stanford University California, the Science and Technology Park in Hong Kong, and as part
of the Marfa Dialogues discussions at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In July she was
invited to speak on behalf of the British Embassy and the British Council at the political festival
Almedalen, on the island of Gotland, Sweden, and in September as the opening keynote speaker
for the EuroConference GlobalCapital Sustainable & Responsible Capital Markets Forum in
Engaging the younger generation through her work, Barker was part of a youth mentoring
programme with First Exposures, an organisation that empowers youth through photography
in San Francisco. She has been interviewed by the BBC during UK Hull City of Culture 2017
and by ITV for World Ocean's Day 2018. She has been part of 'Circularity' a short film
with Christina Figueres and Stella McCartney, produced by VICE in 2018, and has been
interviewed live on CNN News US 'Connect the World', about her series PENALTY during
the FIFA World Cup 2014.
"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, essential to the integrity of my work. The impact of marine
plastic is an area I have documented for more than 9 years and am committed to pursuing
through visual interpretation, and in collaboration with science I hope it will ultimately lead to
positive action in tackling this increasing environmental problem, which is currently of global