By the year 2050, there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish. The average American uses 167 disposable water bottles every year, meaning he or she will use more than 10,000 over a 60 year period. That's a lot of water bottles and a LOT of unnecessary waste, but the impact is too large for most of us to really visualize. Artist and activist Benjamin Von Wong's photo series "Mermaids Hate Plastic" takes the issue of plastic pollution excess and delivers it in a gorgeous, yet disturbing package. The images, which incorporate 10,000 plastic water bottles in a variety of colors, are beautiful and haunting, and that's just how Von Wong likes it. He hopes to raise awareness about conservation issues and serve as a catalyst for change.
Obtaining, de-labeling, cleaning, and organizing 10,000 plastic bottles is no small feat, and Von Wong enlisted the help of many eager volunteers. A waste management company donated the bottles, and a friend and former client of Von Wong’s offered up his warehouse as a space to stage the photo shoot.
Von Wong and friends also designed and created the mermaid costumes, did makeup, rigged the camera, and spent an entire day trying to figure out the most visually interesting patterns and configurations of the water bottles. During the shoot, volunteers would arrange the bottles in swirls or patterns, reorganize them according to color, and then start the whole process over for a new and different shot.
Von Wong hopes the “Mermaids Hate Plastic” project will inspire others to think more about reusing and recycling and about the tremendous impact on the environment each person can make. Share this video to spread awareness about plastic pollution and see more about Von Wong’s artistic process. You can also sign the Mermaids Hate Plastic Pledge to Re-Use water bottles and reduce or eliminate the plastic in your life.
via My Modern Met
All images © Ben Von Wong