A PHOTOGRAPHER is training his lens on the increasing number of discarded face masks littering the town's streets.

Paul Wyse, from Lydiard Millicent, started to notice them while working on another photography project looking at empty shops, offices, and hospitality sites.

The 34-year-old said: “After three or four it was clear that it is an issue within the town and something I felt I needed to document, both for awareness but also for memory's sake.

“It certainly feels like it’s now the litter item of our age and it interested me from an artistic point of view. It feels like the medical world within the hospitals is spilling out into the streets.

“Each day I venture out with a camera around the streets of Swindon and within a 30 to 40-minute walk, I could easily see five or six depending on the time of the day.

“I do also see a lot of council refuse workers, a lot more than I have seen before, tackling the situation and emptying bins and collecting what they can. But towards the end of the day in the streets and side streets you will easily see masks.”

There are currently 13 pictures on his Instagram account as part of the project called Mask.

He started it less than a month ago, taking pictures of masks in Regent Street, Canal Walk, the Brunel Centre and many other places around Swindon.

Paul, who is the technical manager for the Wyvern Theatre and Arts Centre, said: “Outside of the initial artistic interest, it really made me aware of what we are doing, quite possibly consciously in throwing them or dropping them and that there is a huge environmental impact to the planet as well as then relying on others to pick them up and dispose of them responsibly.

“If we found a needle on the floor, we would make more of a fuss, but they are both items of biohazardous waste.

“I certainly feel that more needs to be done in making sure correct disposal is done and the education is available for that, as well as projects like mine to document and raise awareness of the problem.

“At the time of discarding that one mask it may not feel substantial but hopefully this project shows that these numbers soon add up.”

Paul is currently studying for a masters in photography at the University of Falmouth.

He added: “I have been around photography all my life. My father had film cameras when I was younger and while I was involved in the scouting movement, my leaders were a strong influence and had film cameras.

“I dipped in and out of using cameras and then later phone cameras, but about five years ago really got to grips with what inspired me and I began to document the world around me more.

“For me, photography has always been a candid way of documenting life and my surroundings and hopefully shows within my work.”

Visit paulwysephotography.co.uk/ or his Instagram page: instagram.com/discardthemask