American photographer Chris Jordan using large-scale works depict the magnitude of our consumerism and its impact on our environment. Like Edward Burtynsky, Jordan uses large scale photographs to depict scenes of infrastructure and industrial waste that few of us will ever experience in person. While Edward Burtynsky’s work revolves around the petroleum and mining industry and man-made architecture, Jordan uses everyday commonalities such as a plastic cup and defines the blind unawareness involved in American consumerism.
In his 2003-05 series entitled “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption”, Chris Jordan shows us an arresting view of what Western culture looks like. Cliffs of garbage, small cities of shipping containers, and endless grids of mass-produced goods indicates the sheer amount of stuff we make and consume every day. His work, while often unsettling, is a bold message about unconscious behaviors in our everyday lives, leaving it to the viewer to draw conclusions about the inevitable consequences which will arise from our habits.
In 2005 he documented the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in “In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster”. In the 2006-09 series “Running the Numbers,” Jordan gives a dramatic life to statistics of American consumerism, social problems, and addictions.