HOOKED: A new series about plastic waste in our seas
HOOKED was conceived especially with Malta as its inspiration. I wanted to create images that would both resonate specifically with a Maltese audience and highlight our dependence on plastic, which is almost universal.
My father was born on the island of Malta. Growing up, I spent a few weeks here every summer visiting family, swimming, and enjoying a warm, welcoming home away from home. This feeling continued throughout my life on the many occasions I have returned as an adult.
Malta’s rapid development over the course of my life has been startling. Endless building, massive fish farms just off the coast, and once-pristine waters speckled with vast amounts of marine litter are impossible to ignore. The sight of so much plastic waste floating in the Mediterranean surrounds Malta is saddening and frustrating.
The sea is now filled with almost a tenth of the world's microplastics, which are largely unobservable as the majority sink to the sea floor. This invisible pollution infests the inhabitants of delicate ecosystems, attracting toxins that eventually feed into our food chain. Together with overfishing, this is bringing food chains to the point of collapse.
The images for HOOKED have been meticulously created with plastic waste, which smothers and traps the subjects in a visceral, unnatural way to provoke an emotional response from the viewer.
Is it the creatures of the sea who are trapped by plastic? Or is it us, human beings, who are truly hooked?