Research Task 2: Mandy Barker


Mandy Barker is an international award winning photographer who has achieved global recognition for her creative works involving marine plastic debris. One of her works which I find interesting in terms of composition is the SOUP series; which has been published in over 30 countries. Barker’s SOUP is a collection of works which references the mass accumulation of plastic debris that exists in an area of the North Pacific Ocean commonly referred to as the garbage patch.

Barker states that the aim of her work is to engage the viewer and stimulate an emotional reaction through creating a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction; with the subsequent message of environmental awareness. One of the ways that Barker engages with the viewer is through using colourful objects on a dark background, initially attracting the viewer’s attention through the use of colour. Once Barker has the viewer’s attention she is able to utilise compositional strategies such as repetition and scale to create an awareness of the volume of the waste that is floating in the ocean. By using a black or dark blue background Barker makes her items appear almost as if they are floating or moving through space.

Below are some examples of Barker’s work from the SOUP series.


photo © Mandy Barkerphoto © Mandy Barker Mandy Barker


Further Links



Artist 2: Stefan Sagmiester

Stefan Sagmiester is a New York graphic designer and photographer. One of Sagmiester’s works that I found interesting was his installation at The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 called ‘The Happy Show’. Below are a few images of the installation which was large in scale; filling the entire second floor of the contemporary art gallery.

Although there is a lot of designs from roadwork signs to fashion that use the same combination of black and yellow, what I find fascinating about Sagmiester’s installation ‘The Happy Show’ is that he has used yellow as a representation of happiness, implying there is an emotional connection that occurs with colour selection.  In my own selection of pantone colours initially I was experimenting with a blue colour palette then I decided to explore the use pale yellow, bright yellow and black in my ring pull series of vectors.









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