Mandy Barker is an international award winning photographer whose work involving
marine plastic debris has received global recognition. The motivation for her work is
to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world's oceans whilst highlighting
the harmful affect on marine life and ultimately ourselves.
Her series SOUP has been published in over 40 countries including TIME, The Guardian,
VICE, The Financial Times, Smithsonian, GEO, National Geographic, The New Scientist,
ARTE, El Pais, De Standaard, D-La Republicca, Greenpeace, Wired, Wallpaper* The
Explorer's Journal, and numerous photography publications including, The British
Journal of Photography, Fotografi Magazine, GUP, LensCulture, Fotoii, the RPS Journal,
Fotographia, and Monthly Photography South Korea.
Barker has exhibited globally including the United Nations Headquarters in New York,
The Photographers Gallery and Somerset House in London, The Aperture Foundation,
New York, and The Science and Technology Park in Hong Kong. She has received many
awards, including as a series winner for the LensCulture Earth Award 2015, finalist of the
Visual Storytelling Awards 2014, and winner of the International Photography Award
(IPA) 2014 in the Editorial Environmental Professional category. Barker's new series of
work, 'Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals' has been shortlisted for the prestigious
Prix Pictet Award 2017 SPACE, the world's leading photographic award in sustainability.
In 2012 she was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Environmental bursary
enabling her to join scientists in a research expedition to examine the accumulation of
marine plastic debris in the tsunami debris field in the Pacific Ocean. The opportunity
which sailed from Japan to Hawaii allowed her to create the series SHOAL, whilst
providing a solid foundation for her continuing work.
Barker speaks internationally about her work and was invited as a guest speaker to the
Plastic Free Seas youth conference 2013 in Hong Kong, and more recently as part of
the Marfa Dialogues discussions at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston for FotoFest 2016.
She has contributed to many book publications and articles including a publication for
CNN International concerning arts relationship with the environment. Her work was
featured on National Geographic's 'Proof' for Earth Day 2016 and on TIME Magazine's
'LightBox', for Earth Day 2012. She has been interviewed by the BBC for UK Hull City of
Culture 2017 and also live on CNN News US 'Connect the World', for her series PENALTY
during the time of 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 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 which is essential to the
integrity of my work. The impact of oceanic waste is an area I am committed to pursuing
through visual interpretation and in collaboration with science, hoping it will
ultimately lead to positive action in tackling this increasing environmental problem
which of current global concern".
The world map below shows the locations of where marine plastic debris has been
recovered from and used in my work. The dots not only pin point a single location
but also represent wider areas of collection.