Photographic artist Chris Jordan takes pictures of ordinary objects like bottle caps, light bulbs and aluminum cans and turns them into art by digitally rearranging them to construct one central image. However, it’s the tiny pieces that create the artwork that make Jordan’s pieces so shocking and drive home their environmental message. For example, his 2008 work “Plastic Cups” (at left) depicts 1 million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the U.S. every six hours.
Jordan recently described his work this way: “Seen from a distance, the images are like something else, maybe totally boring pieces of modern art. On closer view, the visitor has an almost unpleasant experience with the artwork. It’s almost a magic trick; inviting people to a conversation that they didn’t want to have in the first place.”
Chris Jordan’s 2008 work ‘Plastic Cups’ depicts 1 million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the U.S. every 6 hours.
This short, 6-minute film documents Chris Jordan’s photography project on Midway Island, where thousands of baby albatrosses die from ingesting plastic found in the Pacific Ocean. Jordan explains the project and articulates why art that might inspire grief or shame or despair is important. I don’t want to overwhelm or traumatize, he says, but when we allow ourselves to feel anger or grief, those are legitimate human responses that need to happen so that collectively we can make new choices.
Photographer Chris Jordan is well known for his work illustrating the sheer size of our consumptive habits. Here’s Plastic Bottles, 2007 from his series ‘Running the Numbers.’