Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about environmental and nature photographer Chris Jordan. Chris’s latest work is called Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait, which is a series of photographic representations of our over-the-top consumer culture – and boy is it frightening!

The photos are huge, zoomed out shots of piles of trash, such as 60,000 plastic bags: the amount that is used in the US every 5 seconds (!!); or 1 million plastic cups: the amount used on airline flights every 6 hours. The photos truly add a needed shock value to these already despairing statistics. Check it out for yourself:

The 60″ x 90″ photo of plastic cups:plastic-cups.jpg

Actual print size:plastic-cups-zoom.jpg

A 60″ x 92″ of 106,000 aluminum soda cans, the amount used by American consumers every 30 seconds:


The cans at actual print size:


There are SO many more, you really just have to check it out. In the artist’s own (incredibly eloquent) words:

“The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits.”

If you’re lucky enough to be in Oberlin, OH, Ithaca, NY or Peterborough, NH than you can see his photos for yourself and take in the full blown reality of our wasteful culture. For a full list of exhibits, check out Chris’s website at

Chris’s current collection is called Intolerable Beauty (which is an even more disturbing depiction of our trash build up) and his previous work includes an incredibly moving photo book “In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster” which features essays by environmentalist Bill McKibben (one of our favorite authors/speakers) and Susan Zakin. The photos are some of the most gripping we’ve ever seen of post-Katrina New Orleans. We really wanted a copy, but it seems that the book is completely sold out. BUT he does have a DVD and poster versions of his photography soon to be released – so stay tuned! Congratulations Chris!