The immense scale and close-up perspective of Chris Jordan’s vividly colored photographs turns the waste and refuse of contemporary society into abstract compositions of pattern, light, and color with a stunning clarity and impressive level of detail. The sheer accumulation of trash depicted in his photographs—thousands of cell phones, mountains of cigarette butts, tons of broken glass—is simultaneously bleakly overwhelming and breathtakingly beautiful. His monumental images of society’s castoffs bring the viewer face to face with contemporary consumption, industrial waste, and the resulting environmental consequences. The statistics behind Jordan’s images are astonishing– at electronics recycling centers alone, 130 million cell phones are discarded every year; in the United States, it is estimated that 126,000 cigarette butts are thrown away each second.
In Glass, Seattle, the viewer’s first impression is of an all over pattern of color and light, a shimmering carpet of green, brown, yellow, and red. After a moment, the recognizable forms of individual bottles and shards of glass come into focus and one realizes that what one is actually looking at is a staggering amount of broken glass.
tags: repetition, impact, perception, ecology, environment, science