Little did I know that in choosing beach debris as a photographic project for my MA at Falmouth University I would complete the course (and hand in assignments) as movements on both plastics and climate change gathered momentum with local, national and global announcements for tackling the issues. Informing people through television series, films and social media has been effective in mobilising public opinion with active campaigns of school pupils and with Extinction Rebellion. While plastics are a contributor to, but not the sole author of, environmental problems and climate change, governmental action in relation to both is welcome.
When studying a topic intensely it is easy to spot related material/evidence (often it just happens to be ‘there’ anyway). It does feel however, that the following examples (of the many reported each day) have coincidentally developed at the same time as my project came to fruition.
- With visitors to the exhibitions (and myself) seeing my images as objects in space and planets I am keeping the names from astrophysics, Dark Matter for the beach debris and Event Horizons for the recycling facilities. Dark Matter is applied to something that is known to exist but cannot be seen. In Out-Sight-In this is a reference to behaviours associated with ‘out of sight and out of mind’. Event Horizon refers to the point from which nothing can return before being deposited into a black hole. In Out-Sight-In this title references the holes through which we place our waste into metal recycling containers. hoping never to see it again.
- Brian May released New Horizons from NASA control centre on New Years Day 2019.
- On 10th April we saw the first ever image of a supermassive black hole taken with the Event Horizon Telescope!
- The day after my exhibition at The Clay Factory closed Mandy Barker’s Altered Oceans opened on 4th April the Royal Photographic Society’s premises in Bristol.
- Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics was launched in April.
- Earth Day was on 22nd April. The theme in 2019 is Protect our Species. Last year it was End Plastic Pollution.
- Less than 24 hours ago on 1st May the UK government announced an Environment and Climate Change Emergency, the first national parliament in the world to do so.
There is a long way to go to make a difference in our use and disposal of plastics as there is in taking steps to reduce emissions affecting climate change, but with attention focussed at all levels in society and across the globe there will be significant commitment to making a difference. As we enter a new chapter in tackling these issues my project Out-Sight-In feels as if I have only got as far as the introduction and have now to start work on the main body of the text.
BARKER, Mandy. 2019. Altered Oceans. [exhibition]. Royal Photographic Society, Bristol. 4 April – June 2019.
BBC. 1st May 2019. UK Parliament declares climate change emergency. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48126677 [accessed 02/05/19].
Earth Day. 2019. Available at: https://www.earthday.org/earthday/ [accessed 02/05/19].
MAY, Brian. 2019. New Horizons.
PLYMOUTH.gov.UK. 2019. Plan for Plastics. Available at: https://www.earthday.org/earthday/ [accessed 02/05/19].
UYENO, Greg. 2019. Event Horizon Telescope: An Earth-Size Black Hole Camera. Available at: https://www.space.com/event-horizon-telescope.html [accessed 02/05/19].