The disturbing images captured by photographer Chris Jordan, who documents the mountains of junk that we produce (in a recent post), brought to mind an oldie but goodie, Peter Menzel’s Material World. Reviewed on Amazon...
In honor of the United Nations-sponsored International Year of the Family in 1994, award-winning photojournalist Peter Menzel brought together 16 of the world's leading photographers to create a visual portrait of life in 30 nations. Material World tackles its wide subject by zooming in, allowing one household to represent an entire nation. Photographers spent one week living with a "statistically average" family in each country, learning about their work, their attitudes toward their possessions, and their hopes for the future. Then a "big picture" shot of the family was taken outside the dwelling, surrounded by all their (many or few) material goods.
This book speaks directly to the dilemma faced by earnest TreeHuggers. We love well-designed objects, but the consumption habits of the rich nations are killing the planet. (Revisit NationMaster.com for horrifying graphs on, for example, municipal waste generation. USA! Number One! USA!)
(Photos copyright Peter Menzel : The Caven and Ronayne Family, American Canyon, California, U.S.A., 2001 : The Namgay family, 4pm June 7, 1993 Shingkhey, Bhutan)