Abandoned plastic bags become artworks in the Vilde Rolfsen's photographs

Jul 29, 2016 | written by:

Plastic bags are horrible, a real public nuisance: after helping you to take out of the supermarket your groceries, they have officially completed their function and they get tangled in the trees's branches, clog drainage ditches and pile up in landfills forever. The Norwegian photographer Vilde Rolfsen, with a huge sense of civic duty, decided not only to collect all those unsightly bags but also to turn them into artworks. Using clever lighting and careful compositions, Rolfsen transforms ordinary shopping bags into colorful mountains, caves, canyons, rivers and other spectacles of nature for her ongoing series 'Plastic Bag Landscapes'.

So, when you look at her pictures you almost forget you're looking at garbage. “I don't necessarily think it is the physical shape of the plastic bag that appeals to me - says the artist - But rather the feeling it can create when photographing it to become something really natural and beautiful”. Rolfsen started shooting plastic bags two years ago while attending Kingston University in London. She was working in her office when she suddenly noticed the lights hit beautifully a plastic bag left behind by another student and it all started from there, from that experience that changed her life. Rolfsen began salvaging stray sacks from the street and bringing them into her studio to photograph with her Canon 60D. The artist sets a bag on a piece of brightly painted cardboard and illuminates it with multiple lights, sometimes using string to hold it in position. Later with Photoshop, she erases bits of dust and adjusts contrast to make everything really perfect.

The final images are part breathtaking landscape and part grubby trash. “Plastic pollutes landscape in a consistent way - concludes the artist - With these images I hope to raise awareness on this issue, changing the meaning of everyday objects to allow them a different perspective”. An estimated one trillion plastic bags are discarded every year, some of which, however, are transformed from Rolfsen in fascinating artworks.

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