FMP Week 29: Photographer for the GB Spring Clean at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. on 12th April 2019

MVV (aka the incinerator) in Plymouth is surrounded by Blackie Woods and a tidal Creek. My role in photographing the litter picking event on 12th April had originally been planned for February when I set up the Out-Sight-In exhibition in the visitors centre. Thankfully the weather was good, probably better than the earlier date would have been.

Sarah Newton 2019, MVV Environment Devonport Ltd.

The poster encouraging people to take part in this voluntary event included reference to the exhibition. Those taking part were also promised afternoon tea at the visitors centre for their efforts. Over 50 people of all ages attended from the local community and beyond and in three hours 0.25 tonne of litter left behind by others and the tide was collected.

Sarah Newton 2019, Litter
Sarah Newton 2019, Litter
Sarah Newton 2019, Retrieved Litter

I was taking photographs for MVV and not only was I pleased to have been asked but considered this was my thank you to the organisation and host Jane Ford for inviting me to exhibit from February to May. Taking two cameras, one with a 24-120 lens and one with a 55-300 lens as well as my phone I hoped I was covered for all eventualities. All participants signed consent forms to be photographed, with parents signing for young children, on forms organised by MVV. Needless to say I got involved in spotting and picking up litter myself while capturing others doing the same.

Sarah Newton 2019, Campfire at the Story Telling Circle, Blackie Woods

The afternoon was a voyage of discovery with people who were not necessarily known to each other beforehand working in several small groups unified by their common purpose. A variety of additional activities were provided with storytelling and craft making around a camp fire in the woods and back at the visitors centre.  Over tea at the end I was able to talk to a few about my images and to show them the actual beach finds, prompting discussion about the issue and size of the problem.

Sarah Newton 2019, Retrieving litter
Sarah Newton 2019, Retrieving litter





A set of around 90 images were given to MVV who will use them crediting myself. It was a learning opportunity for me with on the spot decision making about capturing the litter and/or the litter picker in action. Hopefully I succeeded in having some of each in the set. I realise that some photographers would have charged for their time or issued a licence to allow use of the images I had produced. However, although I have photographed beach cleans before I saw this as a learning opportunity for myself and with future experience of such events would consider a formal arrangement about using the images.

Sarah Newton and Jane Ford 12 April 2019