The series “Penalty” aims to create awareness about the problem of marine plastic pollution accumulating in world oceans. By using a single plastic object (a football), these photos aim to represent the issue on a global scale.

Each football was collected from beaches or oceans around the world and is captioned with the country or area where it was recovered.

The diverse range of 769 collected footballs is represented both by individual countries and overall collections made in particular areas of the world. A collection of 228 by one person shows an individual undertaking, the collaboration of nearly 90 members of the public around the world have helped to represent the project on a global scale.

Of course, there is no way of knowing exactly where the balls have travelled from and how long they have been in the ocean. For example, it is unlikely that a Manchester United ball found on the west coast of Australia has crossed all of the world’s oceans to get there—but how can we be sure? Each football has its own individual story that we will never know.

—Mandy Barker

Don’t miss the work of
all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014. In total, you’ll find 25 powerfully told stories from across the world.

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