OTTAWA -- An Ottawa-based photographer is drawing attention to the plastic garbage that washes up on the shores of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes.

John Healey has spent over two years collecting plastic waste, which he then brings back to Ottawa to arrange and photograph.

"I really wanted to show people what was out there. I’ll bring it back to my studio and then I’ll shoot it here. I’m trying to re-imagine it. I’m trying to give it a different sort of perspective."

He started his project while on a camping trip to Lake Superior with his wife. The couple hiked to a remote beach, and Healey was amazed at what he found.

"I was amazed at how much was on the beach; like, what had just floated up onto the beach."

His work has won him the Project-X Award. According to the Project-X Award website, the award "recognizes and celebrates the merits of a publicly presented photographic project by an Ottawa-based artist."

His work is now on display on the Ottawa Art Gallery.

"His photographs just turn these objects, which we would normally just walk right by into the things that we need to think about; how they’re impacting us, how they’re impacting the environment," Catherine Sinclair, Ottawa Art Gallery deputy director and chief curator.

His work draws awareness, says Sinclair, "This is our drinking water, these are our rivers - these are our lakes; and these things are not just in ocean bodies, it’s very close to home."

"Plastic Beach" is on display at the Ottawa Art Gallery until November 25. Admission is free, but you must book an appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic.