Chris Jordan’s images of excess
Photographer Chris Jordan makes staggering representations of human waste, consumerism and cultural practices, focusing on the immense environmental impact of collective consumption. Jordan illustrates daunting statistics–4 million plastic cups used each day on airline flights alone, 166,000 overnight packages shipped by air in the U.S. every hour–that transform abstract data into palpable visual language. From a distance, his large-scale images resemble pointillism, but zoomed in, they are composed of individual cups, bottles or prison uniforms. This is pretty powerful stuff–it can be hard to get a grip on the scale of these numbers in abstraction, as we’ve learned talking about the 150 million tons of waste buried at Fresh Kills. Visualization helps.
Jordan has published a book of his photos, Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait and recently completed Midway: Message from the Gyre, a series of stills taken of albatross carcasses in the North Pacific, where colorful bits of plastic have been mistaken for food by the birds.
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