Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pictures of Consumption



There are 28,000 42-gallon barrels in this image. This is roughly the amount the United States consumes every two minutes.

Chris Jordan uses photography to illustrates the staggering scale of human consumption. His series Running the Numbers, is a series of photographs that look at statistics in contemporary American culture.

Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption), etc. While statistics can normally feel abstract and make it difficult to connect with and make meaning of of numbers lik 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, 2.3 million Americans in prison or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month, Chris Jordan's pictures provide a visual interpretation.



The picture above depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day.

Greater detail:


New Scientist has selected some of these images for a slide show on their website with links to related articles for more information. It is called Gallery: Putting human consumption into perspective.

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