When I first started my Waste project, I wasn’t entirely sure about what I wanted to do or how I wanted to achieve it. I knew there were certain things I didn’t want to do – such as simply photographing rubbish on the ground outside – as I knew it was most likely something that’d been done many times before by both professional photographers and other students. It was by looking into other artists that I realized what direction I wanted to go with this project and I’m really happy with the results.
Creating things – like sculptures, paintings or even drawings – is something I really struggle with and previously struggled with when I was on an Art Foundation course last year, so deciding to try and make something for this project was definitely a challenge for me. The piece, which consisted of plastic carrier bags cut up and stuck down on 3 sheets of A1 card, took me four days to make (five if I include the test run I did on two sheets of A4 paper stuck together) and although it became quite tedious I found it really enjoyable to create something myself. The piece I made wasn’t exactly how I initially pictured it to be but I’m really happy with the results. To stick it up against the ceiling I used blu-tack which made it easy to put up but also meant that it could unpredictably fall due to the weight of the plastic, tape and the card itself. Towards the end of taking pictures, both the sheets of card on the walls fell whilst the card still on the ceiling remained and although this wasn’t what I was aiming for I did photograph it just in case I were to find them helpful or if my project developed in another direction.
Deciding on the layout of the way in which I would present the pictures in a magazine was also something I enjoyed as it was interesting to think about different ways in which things can be presented other than just full page portrait or double page landscape. I liked the idea of negative page space going around the image – such as my final page (left, top) – and I also really liked the idea of text being within the negative space of the photograph itself (left, bottom). I chose magazine instead of exhibition space because not only do I personally prefer magazines to exhibitions, but also because within a magazine the photographs can be used alongside an article and I think that article could be something really informative about the effects plastic carrier bags have on the environment – marine life particularly – and what people need to do to solve these issues.
I’m really happy with the results of this project and I’m glad that I decided to challenge myself by trying to make the photograph subject myself. However, if I could further improve the project I think I could’ve made more than one sculpture, perhaps a smaller and a larger one so that I could perhaps physically capture the ‘growth’ the title describes. I think it could have been interesting to show different stages of the plastic bags consuming my environment much like carelessly discarded plastic carrier bags consume the environment of birds and marine life.