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Photographic Artist Creates Beautiful Images That Will Probably Disgust You

Chris Jordan is a photographic artist who uses his artworks to bring awareness to a serious problem of our time – consumerism. Seen from afar his images look like modern recreations of famous masterpieces, but as soon as he approaches the viewer is confronted with thousands of photographs of waste assembled into a beautiful picture.
He’s been called “the ‘it’ artist of the green movement” for his ability to send clear messages about mass consumption through beautiful images that end up disgusting the viewer. But while he’s always been interested in photography, he studied law school and became a corporate lawyer who only dedicated his free time to his favorite hobby. His father, a businessman, had also been passionate about photography and Chris remembers he “was filled with regret” that he couldn’t practice it full time. So, determined not to repeat his mistake, the young lawyer moved to Seattle, and quit the bar after ten years of practicing law, to dedicate his life to photography.
It was definitely a risky move, but definitely an inspired one as the success of his early shows in New York and Los Angeles propelled his career. Chris Jordan came to tackle consumerism by chance. He had taken photos of a pile of garbage and found it beautiful because of its complexity and great color, but when friends of his, who were active in consumerism, started commenting on it, he got the idea for his future projects.

Venus 2011 – Depicts 240,000 plastic bags, equal to the estimated number of plastic bags consumed around the world every ten seconds




Using some digital trickery, Jordan manages to assemble his unique images from tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of waste photographs. Instead of using thousands of individual pieces of garbage, he just uses a few hundred, which are photographed over and over. It takes him a few weeks to digitally construct one of his images, but if he used individual pieces, it would probably take him a year to complete a project.




Gyre II, 2011 – Depicts 50,000 cigarette lighters, equal to the estimated number of pieces of floating plastic in every square mile in the world’s oceans



Gyre, 2009 – Depicts 2.4 million pieces of plastic, equal to the estimated number of pounds of plastic pollution that enter the world’s oceans every hour. All of the plastic in this image was collected from the Pacific Ocean



Caps Seurat, 2011 – Depicts 400,000 plastic bottle caps, equal to the average number of plastic bottles consumed in the United States every minute



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