Plastic by Mark Alan King in Christchurch, Barbados

This is my second time living in Barbados. I grew up here between the ages of 3 and 7. Upon moving back at 26 the colorful plastic bags were one of the first things I noticed. I soon found myself taking still life shots of the bags in studio and in natural environments, but grew bored of shooting them.

In the summer of 2010, I was gifted a few packs of expired high speed black and white Polaroids by a friend during a visit to San Francisco. They lived in my fridge until January 1st, 2011. On that night I hopped in the car and drove around the island taking portraits of a friend using the Polaroids. I was soon heading to Belgium to take part in a screen printing artist residency at the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee and wanted to produce something different to what I was making back then. I knew whatever I was going to make would involve solid blocks of color. After returning from my outing I scanned the first image and started painting in the sky in Photoshop via my Wacom tablet. There was a green plastic bag next to me that I ended up referencing for the color. It was that very moment I realized I was more interested in the color palette of the plastic bags than I was with the bags themselves.

Name:Mark Alan King

Tell us about your ‘Plastic’ photo project: Plastic is a photo series consisting of 20 portraits taken in Barbados from 2011 – 2012. The images were captured at night on a Mamiya RZ 67 medium format camera on black and white Fuji FP-3000B instant film.

Place you live: Christ Church, Barbados

Can you sum up the Barbados? Out of all the places I’ve lived so far Barbados is the most beautiful. It’s a small island, yet I have grown so much since returning here. There’s been a love/hate relationship between us over the years. Many good things have come from my time here so far. And I’m grateful. This place has also reignited my wanderlust. Living on an island can do that for you.

A perfect day in Barbados? Early morning swim at the beach, followed by a fish/egg cutter from Cuz, work on personal projects all day, catch up with friends over drinks and music while the sun goes down.

What is the best thing about your spot? The weather

What is the worst? Cost of groceries

Preoccupation: Being creative

A place you want to visit before you die?

What would be surprising about Barbados to an outsider? I would say the contemporary art that is currently being produced will come as a pleasant surprise to outsiders.

Who are your three favorite photographers right now? Vivian MaierVivian Sassen and Isabella Rozendaal

Mark’s photo series ‘Plastic’ was turned into a limited edition book published by Mossless. The book is sold out but we are lucky enough to have one copy to give to one of you! It is absolutely beautiful. Who wants it? Jump over here to win. 


Name:Mark Alan King


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Local Tip?

Good Evening = Good Afternoon
Good Night = Good Evening

If someone was visiting what must they do?

Avoid the touristy stuff. Explore for yourself. It’s too easy to get caught up in the bullshit. Rent a villa, interact with the locals and get lost a few times.