Ultimately, Ocean Pledge is concerned with paradigm shifts: How we can change perceptions and behaviour around single-use plastic. In this story, Weston Fuller shares his views of the power of imagery in transforming human behaviour and his motivation behind creating the famous “Plastic Surf” series.
“The reaction and emotional connection someone can have to a visual image, especially a photographic image can evoke change
which is necessary to start creating good habits or change bad ones”
According to Southern Californian conceptual photographer, Weston Fuller, powerful imagery has the potential to “start creating good habits or even change bad ones”. Images allow us to take stock of the moment and even challenge us to redefine our behaviours and perceptions.
Throughout the course of history, says Fuller, certain images epitomise the events or struggles of that generation or era. The images we connect with strongly become ingrained representations in society. In this way, Fuller believes that current imagery which portrays the state of our environment because of plastic pollution will forever more reflect a “moment when we stood up to the issue of pollution or allowed it to bury us”.
“Single-use plastic trash does not belong in our oceans or on our beaches (or anywhere in our environment)”
Throughout his travels and career, Fuller was alarmed by the increasing infiltration of plastic, in even some of the most remote locations on earth: “I remember being on an assignment and dragging myself up a snowy mountain trail to a viewpoint that (had me) thinking…”I must be the first person to stand in this place”. This thought was taken from me when I noticed a discarded piece of trash in a nearby bush. Over the years this same situation has occurred on multiple locations, from the top of mountains to remote dessert floors and most recently on the local beaches near my home. But why should any trash, be left behind…anywhere?
Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Fuller’s passion for the environment was birthed at a young age and nursed throughout photographic expeditions that tended towards an appreciation for the beauty of the natural environment. In response to his growing concern with the plastic he encountered in
‘Plastic Surf’ is a conceptual photographic series of images which juxtaposes the natural beauty and tranquillity inherent in moments of surfing, with real plastic items collected by Fuller and his family from local beaches along the coastline of Southern California. He illustrates his photos to highlight the alarming presence of plastic pollution that threatens to spiral rapidly should we not confront the issue and take responsibility for our actions.
“The fastest way to see change is in our own lives and the efforts we can personally make to not add to the tremendous problem that already exists”
Fuller’s hope is to convey a message of mindfulness – one that promotes taking ownership for the waste we interact with as a means of reassessing our role as the consumer. According to Fuller, the rise in single use plastic pollution is largely due to consumer convenience and the failure to responsibly manage waste; “We need to be responsible for the trash we create and be smart about how we dispose of it”. His view places the onus for the current plastic crisis firmly in the hands of the consumer, highlighting that “every individual is personally responsible to take care of themselves and the environment which we impact”. And for fuller, this extends to taking responsibility for all our purchasing decisions and how we deal with our trash. “I don’t expect everyone to remove plastic from their lives entirely, but I would expect everyone to do their own part to properly recycle and dispose of the plastic they use”.
When awareness can mushroom through the manifestation of small but widespread changes in behaviour, a movement gains momentum to effect positive and sustainable change, and this essentially, is the intention of Fuller’s collection.
Ocean Pledge is grateful to Western Fuller for his generosity in allowing us to use his imagery to further our common interest in
creating awareness and appealing to our sense of responsibility around plastic pollution. We urge all our followers to view his further collections and projects on https://www.westonfuller.com/