Photographer Chris Jordan describes the photos in his series “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption” as his “first foray into being an engaged artist.”
1

Cell phones #2, Atlanta, 2005

"The idea [behind this series] was to capture the scale of [our] mass consumption. It was the first time I stood in front of piles of the detritus of our mass consumption." "Cell phones #2, Atlanta, 2005"

2

Cell phone chargers, Atlanta, 2004

"Initially, I thought I was seeing the scale [but] in the end, I realized this was the tiny tip of the iceberg." "Cell phone chargers, Atlanta, 2004"

3

e-Bank, Tacoma, 2004

"It was interesting to see the limitations of this series and the photos. [Mass consumption is an] invisible phenomenon-- there's no one place I can go to capture it all." "e-Bank, Tacoma, 2004"

Intermission
182

35 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

by Hal Amen
445

10 volunteer opportunities for free travel

by Matt Scott
13

This photographer takes nude photos of “ordinary” women around the world. The effect? Self-love.

by Amanda Machado
4

Crushed cars #2, Tacoma, 2004

"There's a hierarchy of activism.... What my work is about to feel these issues myself.... A large part of change is acknowledging feelings we have and connecting with these issues." "Crushed cars #2, Tacoma, 2004"

5

Oil Filters, Seattle, 2003

"[All this waste] is something that's sort of kept hidden." "Oil Filters, Seattle, 2003"

6

Spent bullet casings, 2005

"I almost felt like a spy. I felt like this was something people needed to see." "Spent bullet casings, 2005"

7

Circuit boards #2, New Orleans, 2005

"80% [of the photos in this series] were 'straight' photos. As I ran up against these limitations of photography...I started arranging the subject." "Circuit boards #2, New Orleans, 2005"

8

Circuit boards, Atlanta, 2004

"I also felt like I aged about five years during this series. Virtually all the photos...required that I trespass. I'd go ask [for permission to photograph these piles of waste] but I'd get all these vague excuses: Homeland Security, insurance regulations.... I think it was really a weird fear about photography and exposure [even though] I offered veto [power], showed them my previous work, and explained I didn't name individuals or companies. This was about [documenting] a nationwide, cultural phenomenon." Circuit boards, Atlanta, 2004"

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