Paradoxically beautiful images of marine plastic debris that Barker created with the purpose of raising awareness about the ever-increasing global plastic pollution issue – its toxic effects on marine life and ourselves – have featured in over 40 countries. Her work has been highlighted in many publications and media including TIME, The Guardian, National Geographic, The Financial Times, Smithsonian, Greenpeace and CNN, among others. The artworks have been exhibited globally, for example at the United Nations Headquarters and Aperture Foundation, both in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Photographers’ Gallery, both in London, and also at the Science and Technology Park, Hong Kong.
Barker studied photography at De Montfort University, and has been collaborating with scientists emphasizing her long and meticulous research process since 2010. The initial aesthetic from her subjects attracts the viewers’ attention and once the underlying messages unfold, represent a contradiction, which carry the aesthetically appealing images to a new dimension, focusing Barker’s visual interpretation of ocean waste, as seen in the series Penalty, Shoal, and Soup, among others.