"We absolutely didn't set out to talk about plastic pollution," says filmmaker, author, and conservationist Ian Shive, of his new film on Midway Atoll, Midway: Edge of Tomorrow.
Shive, a noted photographer known as the "leading chronicler of America’s national parks," journeyed to Midway Atoll to document the national wildlife refuge in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which proved to be a turning point of World War II in the Pacific.
"You can't go to Midway and not be immediately aware of the plastic issue," says Shive. "We called it the next battle of Midway. It's an invasion of plastic. You see the historic structures from the Battle of Midway, and then you see all the plastic: old items, like toys from our parents' generation, clear plastics, and fishing gear, all washing up on this island that's only 2.4 square miles."
Midway is 1,300 miles from the nearest city (Honolulu) but because of its location, the island collects plastic pollution and other debris from across the globe. See also: Midway Through Cleaning Up Midway Island.
More than 70 people were involved in the creation of the film, which takes viewers on a journey through the history of the island and current conservation efforts. At one point, Shive shows a dissection of a dead albatross that had multiple plastic bottle caps and other pieces of plastic in its stomach.
All photos by Ian Shive, courtesy of Tandem Stills + Motion.
After working in both the film industry and as a photographer on assignment, Shive created Tandem Stills + Motion, an environmental film and photo company based in Los Angeles, California, where he works to connect viewers with the natural environment.
"We're trying to bring issues home to build connection, and to get people to understand public lands," he explains. "The ocean doesn't divide us, it unites us."