HELENA WACKO explores the juxtaposition of aesthetics and crude reality in the work of photographer Mandy Barker. Every now and again, an image of sea turtles choking on plastic bags or polystyrene trash littered across shores complements headlines on the growing plastic pollution in our oceans. These unpleasant images have become commonplace to the general public. They are perhaps granted a brief concern by onlookers, but rarely a second look. Mandy Barker’s artwork greatly contrasts this salient indifference which plagues the comfortless images. She has devoted her career to photographing discarded litter from oceans collected from around the globe, ranging from the British shores to Hong Kong beaches. Her photographs are akin to celestial constellations. Plastic debris, which are the principal subjects of her images, are laid out to mimic the faraway asteroids mapped out onto our night skies. Her work, much like the cosmos, are a carefully organised chaos.…Continue Reading

Cosmic Plastic Constellations

SONTI RAMIREZ uses photography to explore interlocking urban identities and environments from a micro-perspective.  Upon talking to Sonti Ramirez, I am struck by her exuberant vivacity, which is clearly present in her highly curated and delicate photographs of minority presences. Her interest in photography began very simply, when she purchased an old film camera from Brick Lane. This provided her with a way to begin to visually documenting her local area of Camden – both its historical buildings and its residents. Always driven by a story, she applies the same approach to her work today, as she tries to “figure out people’s identities via spaces”. She explains how she wants to use her photographs to reclaim the concept of “otherness” from its negative connotations, and evoke complexities and details that others tend to not notice. Mainly, her interests lie in the how the spaces we inhabit influence our collective identity, both past and…Continue Reading

Sonti Ramirez