Stretching Minds Through Photography

A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Chris Jordan is no ordinary photographer. He has a vision of how he can graphically communicate statistics about the way we live. With digital photography, he illustrates our culture of waste in “Running the Numbers, An American Self-Portrait.”

For me, as with many people, statistics are abstract. I find it difficult to wrap my mind around big numbers. Chris helps bend my mind in such a way that it will never go back to its original shape.

Do you know these statistics?

How many breast augmentations are performed each year?
How many plastic cups are used each day on airplane flights?
How many sheets of office paper are used in five minutes?
How many aluminum cans are used in thirty seconds?

Using a digital camera and digital manipulation, he looks at our nation’s consumerism and turns it into works of art that compel us to look more closely at how we live. Chris Jordan says, “Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the roles and responsibilities we each play as individuals in a collective that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible and overwhelming.”

Here are some examples. Visit his Web site to see and learn more.

Depicts 32,000 Barbies, equal to the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the US in 2006. Photo by Chris Jordan

Partial zoom. Photo by Chris Jordan

Detail of actual print size. Photo by Chris Jordan

Depicts one million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours. Photo by Chris Jordan

Detail at actual print size. Photo by Chris Jordan

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