I was just served a great big helping of poignancy from photographer Chris Jordan. His latest work, â€œMidway,â€ captures the actual contents of dead albatross chicksâ€™ stomachs, found on the Midway Atoll (near the middle of the North Pacific ocean). Thousands of these birds die every year from starvation, but also from choking and toxicity from the pollution that their mothersâ€™, thinking it looks like food, bring back for them. As the artistâ€™s message explains, not one piece of plastic in these photos was changed, moved or altered in any way, so as to document this situation as accurately as possible. While the images are certainly tragic and difficult to take in, one must admit that there is also a beauty captured in these photographs.
The artist interprets the way we, as a society, consume as a kind of â€œmob mentality;â€ weâ€™re all taking and devouring so much in the world in such an unsustainable way, but because there are so many of us no single person can be held accountable. Jordanâ€™s personal stance and goal for creating these pieces are best explained in his statement about the work:
â€œAs an American consumer myself, I am in no position to finger wag; but I do know that when we reflect on a difficult question in the absence of an answer, our attention can turn inward, and in that space may exist the possibility of some evolution of thought or action. So my hope is that these photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know that we are awake.â€
It has assuredly made me question my personal consumption habits, as well as feel remorse for having ever absentmindedly littered near the ocean.
For more thoughts, feelings, and ideas from Meg visit her blog at Flabbermasthead