Posts Tagged ‘Chris Jordan’

Chris Jordan– Prix Pictet Commission– Ushirikiano

October 14, 2011

This week, The 2010 Prix Pictet’s Commission was unveiled at Diemar/Noble Photography here in London. The gallery hosted the commissioned exhibition last year by Ed Kashi, which you can see here. This year features the body of work by environmental photographer Chris Jordan, documenting his field trip to Northern Kenya, specifically focusing on the horrors of elephant poaching.

CHRIS JORDAN – ARTIST’S STATEMENT
‘This year I was honoured to receive the Prix Pictet Commission, which took me on a thousand-mile behind-the-scenes photo documentary safari in Kenya’s northern rangelands. There I encountered a confederation of NGOs working closely with local indigenous tribes to create a sustainable way of life based on principles of environmental stewardship, wildlife conservation, and peace. Despite enormous adversity and the dubious intrusions of first-world religious, commercial, and educational culture, this quiet mini-revolution—led by a council of tribal elders—is bringing peace and stability to a huge area of Kenya. I found the process heartening, especially considering that it is happening in a resource-poor part of the world that is being ravaged by the effects of global climate change. Throughout our two-week expedition across a stunningly wild landscape, I found myself constantly humbled by the grace, dignity, and spirit of the ancient tribal people I had the privilege of encountering there. I hope my photographs convey a small fragment of the complex and inspiring story of Ushirikiano* that is emerging in this remote part of Africa.

The phenomenon of elephant poaching strikes me as profoundly symbolic. As the largest animal to walk the Earth, the elephant is one of our planet’s most sentient beings, with a brain about four times the size of ours, equal or greater in intelligence to dolphins and higher-order primates. Elephants are one of the few creatures who grieve their dead in community, and this kind of mourning is one of the characteristics that anthropologists use to define the line between early humans and pre-human apes. In my view, our elephant populations—along with the ecosystems they inhabit—should be revered and preserved as sacred planetary treasures. Hopefully these photos can serve as a visual reminder of the trail of destruction we leave, and the damage we do to our own spirits, when we forget our relationship with nature and our connection with the higher purposes of our life and our own human dignity.’

Prix Pictet Commission: Chris Jordan
Ushirikiano
Building a sustainable future in Kenya’s Northern Rangelands
Diemar /Noble Photography 66/67 Wells Street, London W1T 3PY 6 -29 October 2011
[*Ushirikiano: noun (Swahili): partnership, collaboration, or community of shared interest.]

To see more from this body of work, check out Chris’s website gallery here.

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ECOAESTHETIC: The Tragedy of Beauty

June 15, 2010

ECOAESTHETIC is an annual summer experience of environmental issues affecting our visual world and spiritual selves through exhibitions and special events.


ECOAESTHETIC: The Tragedy of Beauty is the first exhibition of SEA to be mounted in Exit Art’s main gallery. In keeping with SEA’s mission to present artworks that address socio-environmental concerns – and to unite artists, scholars, scientists and the public in discussion on these issues –ECOAESTHETIC will establish a summer encounter of social and environmental projects. Through the work of nine international photographers, it approaches the mystery of beauty in the natural and built environment, which can be destructive or utopian.

The Tragedy of Beauty will focus on photography of land where the tragedy of the image becomes the aesthetic of the environment. The artists in this exhibition do not have a passive engagement with the environment; rather, they seek out beautiful and tragic images to emphasize the human impact on fragile ecosystems, to elucidate our relationship to nature, and to visualize the violence of natural disasters. The purpose of The Tragedy of Beauty is to demonstrate that global environmental struggles are creating an aesthetic.

In conjunction with The Tragedy of Beauty, Exit Art will also create a collective terrarium in its two ground floor windows facing 36th Street and 10th Avenue. For this project, the public has been invited to bring a plant and a photo of themselves with the plant to Exit Art, in order to contribute to a communal garden that gives a presence to the local environmental movement.

Curated by Papo Colo, Jeanette Ingberman, Lauren Rosati and Herb Tam.

ARTISTS:
Edward Burtynsky (Canada); Mitch Epstein (USA); Anthony Hamboussi (USA); Chris Jordan (USA); Christopher LaMarca (USA); Sze Tsung Leong (USA); David Maisel (USA); Susannah Sayler/The Canary Project (USA); Jo Syz (UK)

Exit Art
475 Tenth Ave
New York, NY 10018

T. 212 966 7745
F. 212 925 2928
E. info@exitart.org

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Friday 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday 12:00pm – 8:00pm

Opening Reception: Friday June 16, 2010, 7-10 pm.
Dates of Exhibition: June 18 – August 18, 2010.

Chris Jordan– Midway

November 30, 2009

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the North Pacific Gyre, is now twice the size of Texas, and still many people are not yet aware of it. The patch is a result of marine pollution such as dumping from large ships, as well as every day litter on beaches and coast. But most of it, believe it or not, is garbage that has been blown by wind off of land. In fact, an estimated 80% of the garbage in the patch comes from land based sources, whereas only 20% comes from ships. What exactly is in the patch? Plastic. The answer is always plastic. Plastic is a synthetic material invented by man that never degrades. Some love it just for that reason.

Unfortunately, this is plastic’s biggest fault. Our culture of disposable plastics like bottled water, packaging, grocery bags, single serving containers, etc. has not yet replaced “real plastic” with green biodegradable versions. Plastic does not biodegrade, it just photo degrades, meaning that it breaks down visually until it becomes so small and invisible while still maintaining its toxic molecular structure that it makes its way into the food source of the smallest of aquatic organisms– plankton. The key to life in the oceans. Plankton is the most abundant life form on earth, and now in the plastic gyre, it is found only 1 to each 7 pieces of floating plastic.

This isn’t the only organism to ingest our plastic waste– sea turtles, fish, jelly fish, and others– are all known to have mistaken brightly colored bits of plastic as food. Not only is the plastic non-ingestible and can do all sorts of harm to their stomachs and throats (imagine swallowing a frisbee every day), but plastic contains a host of toxic chemicals like cancer causing BPA (bisphenol A) and Polysterene (which contains poisons like flame retardants and benzene, known carcinogens). The plastic also absorbs other organic pollutants in the water like DDT (the banned pesticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and others which are known as endocrine disrupters, meaning that they alter the levels and state of hormones of the animals that ingest them. And this isn’t just about the fish turning androgynous– the humans like us that eat them can be greatly affected too. All those warnings about women eating fish during pregnancy? They’re not only because of mercury content, but also because of toxic chemicals that have been absorbed by sealife through the ingestion of plastics which have in turn absorbed these chemicals.

One of the animals most greatly affected is the Albatross. This starring character from Coleridge’s The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner is severely threatened by our current consumptive habits. Specifically, the Black Footed Albatross and Laysan Albatross, who make their home on isolated tropical islands in the North Pacific Gyre, are currently considered an endangered species. Not only are they accidentally caught by longline fishing, but they are prone to eating the colorful pieces of floating plastic that resemble food in the garbage patch. The plastic causes all sorts of havoc in their stomachs, and leaves them full with less room for real food. Parents of albatross chics bring these plastic bits resembling food back to their hungry chics, who’s stomachs fill up too quickly with poisons and in-digestible materials. They barely make it a few months on this diet.

Chris Jordan, a photographer that deals with ideas surrounding America’s vast consumption habits and its resulting consequences, took a trip out to the Pacific Gyre and Garbage patch and found a gut wrenching subject for a new body of work. The stomach of baby albatross chics. What he found was truly shocking and horrific, even unbelievable. But believe it. This is photography in the classical sense in that he is photographing what already exists in front of him without additional creation or manipulation.

“These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.”

“To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.”

The images are straight-forward in their approach, photographed from a similar vantage point and distance, leaving the viewer with nowhere to go but facing the reality of what he’s setting in front of them. Various states of death and decay are portrayed, from some birds that seem fairly in tact, like their death might have occured just a few days ago, to others that are merely a pile of bones. However, it becomes clear right away the message and purpose of the photographs. Chris is clearly highlighting the contents of these baby chics’ stomachs– plastic. The closer and longer you look, the more you can identify. Fishing line is prevalent, as are hundreds of bottle caps, can openers, cigarette lighters, stuff you wouldn’t imagine. If humans ate these things on a daily basis we would suffer a great deal. Now imagine a baby bird, a fraction of our size, eating the same thing. Eating our garbage which it mistakes as food. Why are we using a material that is meant to last forever to make things designed to be used for only a few seconds and then tossed away?

There is a desperation apparent in these pictures. It is the result of the death and decay in the photographs, but also in the feelings of disgust and horror the viewer is experiencing. Chris is showing us the direct result of our habits. He is making the clear connection between society’s consumptive and wasteful habits and the consequences of that. He is showing us that our garbage doesn’t just disappear at night never to be thought of again. That is has dire consequences, and not just for an animal thousands of miles away, but also closer to home, in the food that we eat and the ocean in which we swim. We have altered the composition of the ocean forever. Now, every sample of water or sand from anywhere in the world, contains plastic. Is this the world we want to leave for our children and our grandchildren?

If you’d like to hear Chris talk about the ethics involved in photographing these birds (ie. no plastic was added or moved in the process), you can do so via this 2 minute clip on vimeo. And to see more of his work, please visit his website.

Chris Jordan during TEDtalk

August 20, 2009

From the 2008 TEDtalk, Chris Jordan explains his work and how it aims to connect our everyday actions to the unfathomable statistics we encounter on a daily basis. Approx. 11 minutes in length.

Prix Pictet Shortlist: Photographic Award in Sustainability

July 31, 2008

The Prix Pictet is a major new global prize in photography that focuses on perhaps the greatest single issue of the twenty-first century: sustainability. Over 40 nominators consisting of well known and esteemed gallerists, curators, directors, and editors nominated well over 200 photographers spanning 43 countries for this award, which is generally seen as the highest there is in terms of photography and the environment. 18 photographers were shortlisted by a group of highly regarded judges, including the work of Mary Mattingly, a former class mate of mine from Parsons School of Design. The photographers chosen have produced work of great significance and importance, focusing on urgent environmental issues. The prize awarded will be $100,000 for the winning photographer, as well as shortlisted artist offered a commission worth $40,000 to produce a water related project. To download the official press release please click here.

Shortlisted artists are:

Benoit Aquin
Edward Burtynsky
Jesus Abad Colorado
Thomas Joshua Cooper
Sebastian Copeland
Christian Cravo
Lynn Davis
Reza Deghati
Susan Derges
Malcolm Hutcheson
Chris Jordan
Carl De Keyzer
David Maisel
Mary Mattingly
Robert Polidori
Roman Signer
Jules Spinatsch
Munem Wasif

Each of these shortlisted photographers will be invited to show their work at the Palais de Tokyo in October and run through November, after which the show will be begin a world tour. Take a look at some of the images of each artist. They are powerful, devastating, beautiful, and extraordinary, all at the same time. I highly recommend reading the press release to find out more about each individual artist and their background, as well as the prize and how it’s come about. For me, to see a group of photographs whom I literally think of as the best in the world, competing for a prize that can have no better aim than sustainability in our world and communication into the devastating affects of climate change, I say, it’s about time.

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Chris Jordan: Remains of a business, St. Bernard Parish
Series: In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster

To visit the Prix Pictet site please visit www.prixpictet.com

Chris Jordan

June 8, 2008

Chris Jordan is a Seattle based photographer whose current and past works deal with the idea of consumerism, consumption, and waste; thus the well known American lifestyle. Specifically, two individual bodies of work confront the viewer into a grotesque realization of the epic proportions of waste in this country, using the idea of visual language as a multiplier and medium for numbers. and Chris turns appalling but simultaneously all too real statistics into fine art that challenges the viewer and poses important questions about the individual’s role in contributing to the scene before them. The work is printed large scale, wall size in fact, and the sheer immensity of the scene is astonishing. I saw this work at Yossi Milo a couple of years ago, and I literally stood there staring. I just couldn’t believe the statistics. Sure, I’d heard them before. But to see them, and I mean REALLY see them in front of your eyes, is almost unfathomable to the human imagination. Chris truly opens your eyes in that sense. Not only is the sheer number of things in each photograph so immense that it’s hard to even get your head around it, but because they go right to the edges in his composition, they imply going on forever, as in the next few seconds, hours, days, years, etc. They not only address what is happening now, every passing second in the present, but what is to come in all too soon future.

In “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption”, Chris explores “around our country’s shipping ports and industrial yards, where the accumulated detritus of our consumption is exposed to view like eroded layers in the Grand Canyon, he finds evidence of a slow-motion apocalypse in progress. He is appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination. The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for him its consistent feature is a staggering complexity. He fears that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits.”

Crushed Cars
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Cell Phone Chargers
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Cell Phones
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Cigarette Butts
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Scrap Metal
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In “Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait”, Chris looks “at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. 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) and so on. His hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year for example.”

Cans Seurat, 2007
60×92″ Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.

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Plastic Bags, 2007
60×72″ Depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.
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To see more of Chris’s thought and change provoking work, please visit his website here.