This Galactic Mass of Soccer Balls Were Found in Oceans Around the World

Fútbol fever is going around. And for every Wold Cup superstar on a global stage, there are tons of amateurs out there playing around with their own, non-regulation balls. The sad reality is a lot of those get tossed out before their time, and the sadder reality is that many of them end up clogging our oceans.

This Galactic Mass of Soccer Balls Were Found in Oceans Around the World

Over the course of four months, photographer Mandy Barker collected more than a thousand marine debris balls—soccer and otherwise—from 144 beaches in 41 countries across the globe, then pulled them together for a series called Penalty, which reimagines the terrestrial trash as some kind of intergalactic meteor shower discarded childhood dreams.

This Galactic Mass of Soccer Balls Were Found in Oceans Around the World

Each specimen appears as it was when it was recovered: unwashed, kicked-in, nibbled-on by sea creatures and, in some instances, even a temporary home for everything from ants to crabs.

This Galactic Mass of Soccer Balls Were Found in Oceans Around the World

Barker originally planed for a studio shoot consisting of a single scene, but apparently she underestimated the number that would eventually roll in; in the end, several were stitched together to get the effect. As the latest visual exploration in her Soup series, which repurposes plastic recovered from earth's saltwater supply, it's both beautiful and upsetting. If only these looked so lovely bobbing in our seas. [Mandy Barker via Junk Culture]