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January 16, 2008

Chris Jordan's Stats: Hits You in the Gut

Photographer/Artist Chris Jordan has a gift for translating icy, dry statistics into art that hits you right in the gut, as these selections from an article by Richard Woodward detail.

Be sure you check out the interactive presentation to see the art in the "Numbers in Art" interactive feature.

The illustration shows a few of the nine million building blocks in the massive piece representing U.S. children without health insurance, a shameful statistic since such children are twice as likely to die from medical issues as those who are insured.

Chris Jordan Numbers Photo Essay -

Running the Numbers

by Richard B. Woodward January 2008 Issue


Photographer Chris Jordan turns cold, hard stats into provocative statements on economics, culture, and the American way of life.

Chris Jordan keeps his eyes open for staggering statistics, and the more alarming the better. What sets his 44-year-old heart racing is some new figure expressing American excess and neglect--the number of disposable batteries manufactured by Energizer every year (6 billion) or plastic beverage bottles used every five minutes (2 million) or children without health insurance (9 million). Think of him as the unofficial artist of the Harper's Index.

The puzzlelike photographs he makes in response to these big numbers are designed to illustrate "the scale of consumption of 300 million people" and what such rampant profligacy, if unchecked, might mean for the future of the planet. He has completed 19 pieces for the sardonic series he calls "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait," and he has more in the works.

Please check out the rest of the article.