Flotsam Cyanotypes

The results of this primitive photography technique create a ghostly feel, and have been a good way to explore how all of these ordinary objects can become extraordinary in a new context, as they may well do, generations from now. Many of these everyday items found on our coastlines will inevitably become material ghosts, speaking from a time when fossil fuels and plastics were so abundant in our daily lives. I am enjoying working with this method to create atmospheric and uncanny prints using items I have collected from the UK coastline and harnessing solar energy to produce striking images.

Flotsam Cyanotype - Jo Atherton

Anthropocene Prints

The circular composition of my prints mimic the microscopic marine world seen by those researching the effects of microplastics in our fragile oceans, bringing into focus human impacts at both a minuscule and planetary level. Central to my work is an exploration of how the ubiquity of plastic characterises the geological age of human influence – the Anthropocene.

Millions of years ago, fuelled by sunlight, marine plankton flourished and then settled on the ocean floor, slowly transforming into oil. This same oil is used to quickly produce the endless plastic objects that dominate the everyday. When inked and printed, plastic flotsam fragments bear a stark resemblance to the rich diversity of microscopic marine life – a worrying and ironic connection to a beautiful natural process.

Anthropocene (2016) Jo Atherton
Anthropocene (2016) Jo Atherton