Chris Jordan runs the numbers on modern American life — making large-format, long-zoom artwork from the most mindblowing data about our stuff.

Why you should listen

Photographer Chris Jordan trains his eye on American consumption. His 2003-05 series "Intolerable Beauty" examines the hypnotic allure of the sheer amount of stuff we make and consume every day: cliffs of baled scrap, small cities of shipping containers, endless grids of mass-produced goods.

His 2005 book In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster is a chilling, unflinching look at the toll of the storm. And his latest series of photographs, "Running the Numbers," gives dramatic life to statistics of US consumption. Often-heard factoids like "We use 2 million plastic bottles every 5 minutes" become a chilling sea of plastic that stretches beyond our horizon.

In April 2008, Jordan traveled around the world with National Geographic as an international eco-ambassador for Earth Day 2008.

What others say

"As you walk up close, you can see that the collective is only made up of lots and lots of individuals. There is no bad consumer over there somewhere who needs to be educated. There is no public out there who needs to change. It's each one of us." — Chris Jordan on Bill Moyers Journal

Chris Jordan’s TED talks

Chris Jordan on the TED Blog

Planet Green's top 5 eco TEDTalks

May 28, 2010

The US cable channel Planet Green counts down their five favorite eco TEDTalks — with some great big visions to save the planet and the people on it. Some old favorites and some you might have missed. Watch the short video roundup linked above, and watch Planet Green’s five top eco TEDTalks right here: Paul […]

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Chris Jordan follows the plastic to Midway Atoll

September 14, 2009

Chris Jordan (watch his TEDTalk) is on Midway Atoll with a team of artists to document a shocking result of our love of plastic: thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food — and are starving to death. Midway is near the apex of the Pacific Garbage Patch (watch Capt. Charles Moore’s TEDTalk […]

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