Daniel Gardner

In his Master’s project, Daniel explored how to illuminate the problem of plastic wrappers and waste through photography.

Daniel Gardner

City streets littered with plastic wrappers and waste have become so commonplace that plastic waste is now overlooked, says Daniel Gardner.

In his Master’s project, Daniel explored how to illuminate the problem through photography. “The issue of plastic waste is best shown, rather than told, to help it be re-contextualised.”

Daniel’s images aimed to provoke empathy, awareness, and identification with the ongoing impacts of single-use plastics in Wellington city through a focus on three scales—individual, household, and community waste habits.

“The result is a graphic examination of the linear path that plastic waste takes from our use to the vast landfills and beyond,” says Daniel.

“I wanted to provide viewers with a simple story of Wellington’s waste habits and a better understanding of what happens to the plastic we use in everyday life.”

Daniel says the Master’s programme gave him the freedom to explore a more serious topic such as sustainability and present it in his own style.

“I have always enjoyed photography and producing a body of work that had an important message behind it. I am equally interested and concerned about the current plastic crisis, so was keen to explore how I, as an artist, could portray this in a way that is not often seen in environmental campaigns.”

During his studies, Daniel also had the opportunity to intern as a content producer with Mahuki, an innovation accelerator programme at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

“I really enjoyed this experience and have worked for them from time to time since completing my qualification. Even though the internship wasn’t directly related to my programme of study, I gained valuable knowledge in starting a business sustainably.”