If one could pass a magnifying lens over the pixelated realm of mass consumption in contemporary American culture, one might peer into a mind-boggling sea of just how vast our appetite is for consumer goods and household products. How might we then effectively zoom in on the detritus and trash that is cast-aside every day, every hour, and every second of our lives for that matter?

Chris Jordan’s new photographic series, Running the Numbers, An American Self Portrait (2006-2007), puts a very visceral spin on the statistics of waste. The Seattle-native’s large-scale inkjet images depict the sheer volume and heaping mounds of cell phones, phone cards, plastic bottles, paper bags, and circuit boards that now grace our landfills and neighborhood refuse bins.

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  1. royalestel August 20, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    I certainly hope that such images inspire viewers not to finger-pointing, but to take a look at how they might re-use or repurpose items they usually discard. I’m quite a fan of tightwaddery. Aside from saving money, you save resources as well.

  2. Abigail Doan August 19, 2007 at 8:26 am

    My apologies to readers who were hoping to see the RUNNINGTHE NUMBERS show in NYC during the month of August. The exhibit is indeed now closed, and the write up was really meant to be a highlighting of Chris Jordan’s latest series and his very powerful images. You can visit his website for updates on upcoming exhibits, though: . It’s great to see some of his previous work, too!

  3. Dave August 18, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    This is great but somehwat old news … the exhibit is over(!)

  4. Luis August 17, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Great post!

    If the economics don’t work, recycling efforts won’t either.
    As our little contribution to make this economics of recycling more appealing, blogs about people and companies that make money selling recycled or reused items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources.

  5. Chagri Lama August 17, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    I found the imagery quite shocking! The point is made, and it only remains for us to each do our little bit to fix this horrid state.

    Thank you for the posting of this excellent site.

    Chagri Lama

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