Julia Potato’s “Sad Colours of the Ocean” Reveals a Huge Problem

All photos by Julia Potato. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Environmental issues are among the most pressing topics that photographers today are addressing, not only for documentary work but also for fine art projects. Among these is the work of Moscow-based Julia Potato, which uses a creative and colorful spin to the world’s worsening plastic crisis. Still, it’s easy to see that the goal remains the same: to open our eyes to the reality that this problem comes in all shapes and colors. If you like the idea of making art — and delivering a compelling message — out of the unlikeliest materials, you will appreciate the approach of this series.

First, Julia made a flat lay of bits and pieces of plastic gathered from the beaches of Tenerife. Then, she photographed them to put together a vibrant collection of still life photos she dubbed Sad colours of the ocean. At first glance, the neat arrangements make the plastic pieces look like random bits and pieces simply transformed into abstract art. But once we remember these were all once floating about in the ocean, we are reminded of the urgency of today’s plastic situation. “So bright, so dangerous,” she simply described and that’s exactly what these are, even with the eye-catching, candy-colored treatment.

It’s easy to get lost in all the colors and the abstract beauty in each photo, but at the same time, it drives the message across bluntly. There’s so much of these out there, and we are even finding more and more of them in the stomach of dead animals that wash up on our shorelines. When you think of bright colors, you certainly don’t get reminded of harsh realities like that. In this series, however, it’s inevitable.

Check out Julia Potato’s Behance portfolio to see more of her photography projects.