Project info

When was the last time you saw a plastic bag on the side of the road and thought 'Art'? Actually when was the last time you saw a plastic bag on the side of the road and thought anything? Are we blind to this form of pollution?

5 trillion plastic bags are produced yearly. Plastic will only start degrading after 700 years and will only be fully degraded in 1000 years. This means that all the plastic that has ever been produced has not degraded yet. On October 5th 2015, a law was brought in requiring shops in England to charge 5p for all single-use plastic carrier bags. In aid to reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, and the litter they can cause, by encouraging people to reuse bags. Even though there has been a huge decline in plastic bags, there is still a long way to go.

I have titled this project ‘5p’ and my work has accumulated in a book, moving image piece and prints. I took a range of styles of photos including portraits, landscapes, still life and more abstract photos. For the portraits I have used plastic bags and plastic sheets draped over the heads of my models to symbolise a veil. After some research I found that veils often symbolise many different things in literature, art, religions and cultures across the world. Like death, suffocation, purity, chastity, virtue, modesty, submission, obedience, commitment and authority or power possessed by the veiled person. In my work I have used the draping plastic as a metaphor for environmental issues like the obvious suffocation of the planet by the plastic. But there are other issues my photos could be a metaphor for, like political and socio-cultural issues. Sadly veils are often associated with discrimination and racism, and I hope my veiled portraits can also touch on those issues, not just the environmental ones.

Everyone is blind and immune to the image of a dirty, ripped up plastic bag caught in a tree. I wanted to have a completely new view of these mundane objects that are suffocating our planet. I decided to step away from the traditional documentary look on pollution that has been done a million times, I wanted to make them look like beautiful objects, like pieces of art, rather than trash. I hope that this new look on plastic bags will help people realise that they're not meant to be a part of our natural landscape.