Britain’s Mandy Barker is an international award-winning photographer raising awareness about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, highlighting its harmful effects on marine life and humanity.

I aim to stimulate an emotional response in the viewer,” she says, “by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. I have documented the impact of marine plastic for more than 10 years and I hope my work will lead to positive action in tackling this growing problem.”

Barker’s work has been published in over 50 different countries and has been exhibited globally – including at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the United Nations, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Science & Technology Park in Hong Kong.

Her first book – Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals – was selected as one of the Ten Best Photography Books of 2017, while another, Altered Ocean, was chosen by The Royal Photographic Society as one of the most coveted titles and top 10 Photobooks of 2019.

Entitled Barcode, this image features small pieces of fishing net. Researchers estimate about eight million tonnes of plastic enter the planet’s oceans annually.

In June 2019 she took part in the Henderson Island Plastic Pollution Expedition which was awarded the title of an ‘Explorers Club Flag Expedition’. Only a handful of expeditions receive this recognition every year. Others include the Apollo 11 Space Mission and the dive to Challenger Deep. The latter recorded and photographed marine plastic pollution – it has now become an archive accessible to other modern-day explorers and scholars.


She was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Award SPACE 2017, the world’s leading photography award for sustainability, and nominated for the Magnum Foundation Fund, LOBA Award, and the Deutsche Börse Foundation Photography Prize 2020. BNZ

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Above photo: Penalty comprises nearly 600 footballs collected from 87 beaches around the UK.