Thirza Schaap Captures Beach Debris In ‘Plastic Ocean’

When photographer Thirza Schaap moved to South Africa, she discovered that the objects scattered on the beaches weren’t natural treasures, but plastic and man-made debris.

Schaap’s memories of collecting “beautiful shells, shimmering stones, feathers and funnily shaped branches” as a child had evolved into finding remnants of waste–a stark reminder of the human impact on the environment. The project ‘Plastic Ocean’ developed into a means of documenting and raising awareness of this tragedy, with Schaap assembling and photographing striking sculptures that deceive a viewer’s initial glance. Otherworldly forms and layers of abstract pastel shapes reveal themselves as bottle caps, shoe soles, and plastic toys. Through ‘Plastic Ocean’, Schaap visually communicates the idea that “our beaches are covered in plastic confetti and there really is nothing to celebrate.”

Teeth
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Salmon
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Dune
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All images © Thirza Schaap

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