Vienna-based photographer Andreas Franke has installed his ‘plastic ocean project’ underwater in a bid to raise awareness of plastic pollution. The underwater exhibition, which was available to anyone brave enough to descend to depths of 40 to 50 meters, contained 24 of Franke’s portraits of people drowning in a sea of plastic.

Plastic ocean was shown underwater from May 25th to August 25th aboard the wreck of the USS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg off the coast of key West, Florida, with divers from around the world were invited to check out the installation. The portraits now being prepared for a land-based exhibit with the location yet to be announced.

As a result of spending four months under the sea, the artworks were covered in salt, algae and other microorganisms. Franke has left the unusual patina untouched, to give visitors to the upcoming exhibition a glimpse into the beauty of the ocean and the creatures that live within it.

Since 2011, Franke has carried out three sinking world projects: on the wrecks of the Vandenberg, the Stavronikita and the Mohawk. His latest projects build upon the interest in the ocean generated by his previous underwater exhibition, the sinking world, to draw attention to the issue of ocean plastic.

‘Representing everything that is beautiful in this world, I show beautiful people. Representing our future, I show our next generation. I show both groups in the water among plastic garbage, which was collected along the coast of Italy in a single day,’ explains Franke. ‘Through the next set of images I isolate individual plastic items from the first series and juxtapose them with facts to create more awareness about the extent of the plastic problem in our oceans.’

(Source: Designboom)