Plastic is a densely loaded material and concept. One of the great scientific and industrial innovations of the late 19th and 20th centuries, plastic has become the all-pervasive staple of modern manufacturing, technology and their speculative futures. In the same breath, plastic has become laden with a flood of negative connotations; it is the talisman of environmental degradation, the detritus of an unsympathetic petrochemical industry and a signpost of global ill health. New York photographer Michael James Fox’s debut artist book Plastics takes a very different vantage on this most complex of materials and ideas. Drawing on two distinct, though interlocked, bodies of work, the book not only recasts the humble plastic bag via the lens of the colour-drenched still life, but also via that of the veiled and abstracted urban landscape. In either case, it is plastic’s function as an opaque and transparent membrane – layering, containing, protecting and even swallowing its surroundings – that comes to the fore, either forging or complicating Fox’s photographic subject.