Beach Litter or Art?

Is this a photograph of a crashed alien space craft? No it’s an upturned plastic cigarette lighter on a beach. The picture is part of a body of work by Andy Hughes who has been photographing beach litter for nearly 20 years.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/content/articles/2009/04/16/art_rubbish_feature.shtml

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Beach Litter or Art?Beach Litter or Art?

Is this a photograph of a crashed alien space craft? No it’s an upturned plastic cigarette lighter on a beach. The picture is part of a body of work by Andy Hughes who has been photographing beach litter for nearly 20 years.

Carefully composed and stylishly lit, the items of rubbish sit proudly in the frame, their often garish colours and twisted shapes clashing with the beautiful natural surroundings of the beach.

Beach Litter or Art?Andy Hughes explains: “I’m not necessarily looking to find specific objects with any particular meaning but I’m looking to find relationships between the objects and the landscapes”.

The 42 year old photographer and lecturer from Illogan has had his work exhibited at Tate St Ives and the Eden Project and is preparing for an exhibition at the USA National Maritime Museum in Virginia next month.

Andy has photographed beach litter from North Devon to the North of Scotland, from Cornwall to California.

Introduced to surfing whilst living in Wales in the early 90’s Andy soon began taking pictures of the beach and primarily of litter. 

He moved to Cornwall a few years later and became friends with Chris Hines, one of the founder members of Surfers Against Sewage.

Beach Litter or Art?Hines wrote a short essay to accompany the pictures in Andy’s book ‘Dominant Wave Theory’ which challenged people to walk along the beach for a few minutes collecting the debris they find and then to check their connection with it.

After doing the test himself Hines discovered that everything from insulation foam from a car to bits of fishing gear were in some way connected to him (he drives a car and he eats fish).

Andy is no eco-warrior.  Instead he hopes his images highlight the issues surrounding consumerism and the throwaway culture that exists in today’s modern society.

On a beach on Cornwall’s North Coast Andy lies flat on the sand to photograph a piece of plastic crate.

Andy says: “It’s a case of finding the right position and I can spot there are some similarities between this kind of form here and the way that the coastal scene is set up.  The way the rock forms fall down.”

Beach Litter or Art?A quick inspection of the beach uncovers numerous plastic drinks bottles, a plastic canister, a broken plastic chair, a wellington boot and a green wheelie bin.

A recent report by the Marine Conservation Society found the South West to have the highest concentration of beach litter in the UK. 

Andy looks up at the cliffs above the beach where erosion has brought down large rocks on to the foreshore.

He says: “Of course all of this natural material will cover up all of the waste materials that have landed on the beach.  Who knows maybe in hundreds or tens of thousands of years all this waste material from the 20th and 21st century will become revealed again by some future civilisation.

“Maybe that will give everyone something to think about when you’re taking out  your sandwiches and your plastic bottles and all the associated trappings of modern life.”

·         Andy Hughes website >

·         Marine Conservation Society >

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last updated: 24/04/2009 at 11:00
created: 16/04/2009



One Response to “ Beach Litter or Art? ”

  1. jose froes disse:

    Onde vamos parar com tanta poluição

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