Following a delay of 10 days due to Typhoon Mawar, Mandy Barker set sail on a yacht to take part in an unprecedented opportunity alongside scientists and educators on a month long research trip, preparing to sail through the Japanese Tsunami debris field and across the North Pacific Ocean.
Mandy’s objective was to photograph all plastic debris discovered on the journey following a natural progression and expansion from her previous projects that are concerned with marine plastic debris. Being able to record the Tsunami debris first-hand, whilst being conscious of the devastating circumstances of its existence and the emotional impact of what it represents, has provided a unique opportunity to inform from a location not previously attempted.
Having the opportunity to work along-side the expedition leader, Dr Marcus Eriksen, generated a deeper understanding of the detrimental effect plastic has on marine life and their habitats, creating a solid foundation on which to support her work.
“When I first read about the disturbing state of our oceans I felt it was something I could not turn away from. Taking part in this voyage has given me the opportunity to see for myself what actually exists in the Pacific, and through visual interpretation my next series of work will allow me to continue my aim of increasing the awareness of plastic pollution, this time underpinned by primary evidence”
Mandy Barker, July 2012
Manta Trawl shows plastic recovered from the surface of the North Pacific.
Prior to the voyage Mandy spent time volunteering and visiting in the area of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, which was badly affected by the massive earthquake and devastating Tsunami. The visit was distressing, but crucial in trying to comprehend the devastation that took place there.
“To experience actually standing in an area devastated by the Tsunami and seeing what remains almost a year-and-a-half on was overwhelming and will always stay with me. This altered my approach and thoughts whilst on the voyage and will affect the way my final images will be presented”.
Mandy Barker, June 2012
The voyage was organised by the 5 Gyres Institute, Algalita Marine Research Foundation, two non-profit groups that campaign against plastic pollution, and in collaboration with Pangaea Exploration who operate the expedition vessel known as the Sea Dragon.
For further information on the issue of marine plastic pollution & how you can help please visit the following organizations;