Jessica Pettway works in New York. The Plastic series of pictures was specially produced for Landskrona Fotofestival. Pettway has worked for a long time documenting how modern society uses plastics. Her pictures have been published in newspapers such as The New York Times and The Guardian. Now the Plastic series has a Swedish part. The packages in the pictures were bought in local grocery stores in Landskrona and photographed in Pettway’s studio in New York.
Plastic is a controversial material. In the 1960s and 1970s, cheap manufacturing methods were developed and the plastics industry flourished. Plastic appeared to be the answer to many problems of storage and durability. Today, plastic is a symbol of environmental destruction. One problem is that plastic is a consumable, thrown away after use. Another problem is that we have developed a storage industry that involves plastic upon plastic. Even products that are not fragile are packaged singly and then wrapped in yet another plastic package.
Pettway’s photographs explore the enticing aesthetics of plastic packaging. With playfully composed images, she criticizes the packaging industry and our excess consumption. The surreal environments and pop-style colours of the photographs serve as a commentary on our use of plastic. Plastic creates a sense of sterility and alienates the consumer from nature, the agricultural process and the food. Where does this demand for artificiality come? From the consumer or from industry?