Exhibitions

VR: Wirral Hospitals’ School and MaxLiteracy Award

10 June - 3 September 2021

Exhibitions

Return To Nature

30 July 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May - 4 July 2021

Exhibitions

We Are Nature

30 July - 14 August 2021

Exhibitions

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival — Jessica El Mal: Grounds For Concern

16 July - 15 August 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Who We Are

8 July - 31 July 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Whose Land Is It?

8 July - 19 September 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: Youth Culture by Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: Arc with Hugh Baird

16 June - 20 June 2021

Past Events

First Light: Photography Writing Now – Tilt Launch Party

9 July 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #14: Separated Together

24 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Arc

16 June - 20 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Digital Window Gallery: Postcards from us x

10 June - 20 June 2021

LightNight 2021: Play

21 May 2021

Heavy Gardening Art Trail Photowalk

21 May 2021

OPEN ROOMS #13: A BALKAN JOURNEY WITH CHRIS LESLIE

17 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May 2021

Past Events

Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Interior Tension

22 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Networked Beings

8 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Things Are Strange

25 May 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #12: INDEPENDENTS BIENNIAL

6 May 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port

19 May - 6 June 2021

Picturing England’s High Streets: Prescot

7 April 2021

Picturing England’s High Street: Chester

7 April 2021

Exhibitions

Reclaim The City: Suzanne St Clare

8 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Parallel Histories

11 May 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: After Nature

27 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Unearthly Matter

13 April 2021

Exhibitions

Hanging out: Interviews

23 March - 5 April 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Independents Biennial

18 March - 6 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Corrupted Archives

30 March 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight – Connecting new photography with writing

16 March 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #11: ON THE CORNERS OF ARGYLE AND GLENWOOD – PHOTOBOOK IN COLLABORATION

11 March 2021

Freelance Photographer in Residence Position

23 February 2021

Family Page

23 February 2021

About Alternative Lens

23 February 2021

Projects

Introducing Energy House

23 February 2021

Past Events

Open Rooms #10: All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

25 February 2021

The Course

12 February 2021

Past Events

PLATFORM ISSUE 3: HOPE

12 February 2021

Events

OPEN CALL: THE STORY OF LIVERPOOL THROUGH ITS TREES

1 January - 30 April 2021

Past Events

OPEN CALL: HOMETOWNS

11 February - 31 March 2021

Past Events

WHAT WE DO IN LOCKDOWN

5 January 2021

HYPERTEXT: Books Beyond Bars – Felix McNulty in conversation with Sarah Jane Baker

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Ruth White – The Role of the Photobook in Representing the British Working Classes

28 November 2020

Close
Close
Mandy Barker — Soup

Hazel Marti Challinor — Reflections on Soup

Hi I’m Hazel and I’ve had a fantastic time volunteering with Open Eye Gallery for LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 over the past few months. I’ve written about Mandy Barker’s collection Soup because it visually portrays the current discourse on our consumption of plastic and its detriment to sea life. Barker’s use of colour makes this piece really stand out for me because how can something that looks so pretty be so harmful! I enjoy photography that brings attention to important topics and challenges you, and I think Soup does this perfectly. 

UK photographer Mandy Barker’s debut Soup (2011) is an important body of work, especially now in our current climate. Vivid colours of plastic contrasted with a black background make up the collection. However, there’s more than meets the eye regarding the beauty of the piece. Barker worked with scientists and has spent many years collecting plastic from beaches all over the world to create striking artwork. As of writing, Madrid is currently hosting the World Climate Summit and photography like Soup is an accessible way of showcasing factual evidence of plastic’s impact on the environment. The visual piece allows audiences to explore, in their own time, the damage of plastic in the seas without information overload. The collection’s title refers to the plastic suspended in the ocean whilst also being an allegory for the plastic animals ingest.

As most of the work is vibrant, the use of plastic can easily be mistaken for marine life, as seen in Bird’s Nest, where what looks like coral is in fact a fishing line. Barker is internationally recognised for her importance in bringing plastic pollution awareness to the forefront, and as a result was awarded the 2018 National Geographic Society Grant for Research and Exploration for her work with plastic found in the sea. Barker’s photography communicates how excessive plastic consumption is detrimental to marine life.

One of the more ironic, in a sense, works is Turtle. The plastic turtles featured in this piece are a result of a shipping container disaster, where 12 shipping containers carrying 28,800 children’s bath toys washed overboard. These innocuous toys inhabited the North Pacific Gyre for 16 years, adding to the increasing danger towards real turtles. The colour in this work resembles a constellation, also exposing potential damage to terrestrial life.

The thought-provoking collection perhaps evokes a sense of guilt in consumers, making audiences think about their use of plastic. Photography is a useful tool in communicating global issues, when audiences spend time scanning the images it’s only then that they get the most out of the piece. It’s great to have exhibitions like LOOK Photo Biennial highlight and explore global issues, not just national ones. Impactful photography like Soup challenges society into making smarter environmental choices so the oceans can be preserved for not only marine life, but also for future generations.

Get involved:
Volunteering

Find out more
Join our newsletter