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Chris Jordan: In Katrina's Wake

In 2005, 10 weeks after Hurricane Katrina, photographer Chris Jordan documented the devastation in a series entitled, "In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss From an Unnatural Disaster," published by Princeton Architectural Press, NY.

Below, Jordan discusses some of these portraits. We invite you to respond by commenting below.


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I was just watching a 'Natl. Geographic' channel show about the navy ships, aircraft carriers, etc...One sailor proudly stated that their ship routinely consumes over 600K sodas (in aluminum cans), which they 'inventively' rip into shreds, compact as tightly as possible...and then 'DUMP OVERBOARD!'...When I 1st heard this, I wasn't really surprised, but thought of all the other items and waste these ships generate and their disposal techniques...Considering just on the basis of how much 'everything costs', you'd think they would recycle the aluminum at least, not to mention the environmental factor...Also considering that these large ships are routinely 'restocked' (both at port and at-sea), why can't they take the recyclables and trash then?...Lastly, considering how much technology there is literally ppacked into these ships (especially the 'smart weapons')...why haven't they spent some tech-time working out a way to deal with the waste...OTHER THAN THROW IT OVERBOARD?!?...Good grief!...
M. Moyers, I suggest that you should interview the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. M. Taylor is an important philosophical figure on questions concerning modernity, cultural identity and religion in Canada and I believe in North America and Europe. He has published recently a book title “A Secular Age” about the place of religion and other beliefs in our western secular societies which I think is of great interest. M. Taylor has reflected much about: - religion and modernity, - individualism and self-accomplishment in free societies, cultural identities and integration of immigrants, - national mentalities and - constitutional questions. He is also very interesting to hear about Canado-American relations, Trans-Atlantic relations and, of course, about relation between French and English speaking peoples inside Canada, which is here the big constitutional question. He is himself known both in French and English Canada, which is not very common for an intellectual. M. Taylor has an ability to communicates about complex questions which makes him always very interesting to hear in interviews. Thanks Pierre La Rue
Thank goodness for Moyers Journal.It's the only source of rational discussion available. Please note: I have found a serious problem with obtaining copies of the July 13 program on impeachment. I keep getting notices of delays each month. Our church has planned to use these DVDs as regular movie nights. The latest notice is July 13 may be avail able in Oct. I find this difficult to believe. Is this a conspiracy ? Please investigate & reply.
Re; John Bogle 9/28/07 Thank you Bill Moyers for that most enlightening interview with John Bogle. As an Accountant and investor (401K's) I have been very concerned about the increase in Financial Services as a percentage of the US Economy. And the unconscionable salaries being paid to top executives and Wall Street brokers. I was expecting John to mention the number of Wall Street firms that reported have moved their offices to London because of the Sarbane-Oxley regulations. What can a small investor do?
People before things. Consumerism has filled us w/a feeling of satisfaction when we are surrounded by things. These photographs illustrate the amount of reassurance things should provide, none. You can't take it w/you.
Thank you, Bill Moyers for to the public the life of Rachel Carson, the Mother of the Environmental Movement. Her thoughts and words need to be heard repeatedly to sink in for all of us to appreciate our Natural Environment, to care for it and not destroy what is still left.
Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for this wonderful story. I've often wanted to tell you that although we've never met, you have had a major effect on my life, especially through your series with Joseph Campbell and "Moyers on America," and now with wonderful stories like this. These photos remind me of a line from Yeats about a "terrible beauty" being born because the inadvertant color is breathtaking while the subjects are horrifying. Thank you for returning to PBS and sharing stories like this. The saying, pre-KT, used to be "If PBS doesn't do it, who will" but my fear now is that "if not Moyers, then who?" I'm a lawyer and I plan on sharing these images with my colleagues, including the alumni of Spence's Trial Lawyers College via my blog. A picture truly is worth a thosand words and the prison photos will bring home to the judges I appear before, better than words can, just how many people we now incarcerate, many for non-violent crimes. There is much to mourn today, but much to still rejoice about as well. If a "former corporate lawyer" can still retain an eye for this terrible beauty, maybe the odds aren't so...
Re: Chris Jordan's insightful approach to photo-documentation, Hegel once said, "Quantity destroys Quality". Re: the paper vs. plastic issue?. The Portland "Oregonian" ran an article comparing the two and surprisingly plastic is preferable! Takes up less room, weighs less to transport, is reusable, and more economical and "ecologically" sound in the final analysis. Surprised? Finally, We should All abide by the ol' New England Maxim: "Use it up, wear it out, make do and do without!"
not to criticize anyone who is trying to make a difference...but the answer to the question "paper or plastic?" might better be answered by - "hey i brought my own cloth bag."
Even tho i have been carrying my own bags with me for years and reusing plastic bags, i was aghast at the numbers of bags discarded every 5 seconds. i am going to e mail all my friends with the stats chris related. i'll ask them to e mail to all their friends and try to start a huge chain to wake people up to cutting back on this junk.
When asked, "paper or plastic", my answer will be paper.
Bill's Journal (9/21/7) as always, was especially informative and illuminated two critical issues: K.Lee on Rachel Carson, and Jordan's photographic essay of gross waist in our society. As a result of the program I found the website of Ms. Lee and I'll not miss her appearance in my home town Oct.13. I'll search out more about Chris Jordan too. Many thanks to Bill & the entire crew for making my Friday's such a learning time, each week. Yours, Dick in Urbana IL
After the beautiful piece on Rachel Carson, we silently move to Chris Jordan's disturbing portraits of humanegostein's monster. We live in the bowels of this monster, advertised as miracles of modern technology and power, with man and money implicit as surrogate God. Still, there is nature, still calling out for our help, before she, via we, would end us.
“Send forth your Spirit; and you shall renew the face of the Earth.” - Pentecost Alleluia Pentecost, May 27th, A.D.2007 His Eminence Francis Cardinal George: Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Carson, the “Mother of the Environmental Movement.” Prophetically, it falls on Pentecost. I would like someone to suggest to Pope Benedict that he celebrate a Mass on Easter Island in praise of Creation. Pulitzer Prizewinning professor of Geography, Jared Diamond, says: “The parallels between Easter Island and the whole modern world are chillingly obvious.” The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi would be a blessed occasion for the Mass on Easter Island. The Holy Father might invite the Globe’s most passionate women activists to attend the Easter Island Mass, since it was the women who first witnessed the empty Tomb of the Risen Christ. Perhaps you could examine the enclosures and suggest this Mass to Pope Benedict XVI, yourself. Sincerely yours in Christ, Patrick Clifford Copies sent to Methodist environmentalist Bill McKibben and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.
Chris Jordan's artistic photography is mesmerizing and awesome. I want to keep looking at it -- it makes me think. And I keep asking the same question over and over..."How can we stop this awful waste...".
the artist maintains the power of the individual, his power contains the collective in such a frame as to expose the enormity of the consumer population...we are a force of infinitesimal and feeling abusurd in the face of caring less. thank you for this work and all of pbs buoying us.
Whatever happen to Rachel Carson's nephew?
Listening to the play about Rachel Carson made me realize that Colin Campbell in his book, The China Study, is doing the same thing for us today in sounding the warning for the pollution of our bodies with the consumption of large amounts of animal protein.
Chris Jordan! I get it. I understand it. I appreciate it, BIGTIME! Isn't the artistic process a hoot!? ya start out thinkin' "ooh, neat colors" and wind up with "maybe milton friedman didn't have THIS is mind. Should we maybe rethink this?!" I love your work. I love your work. I love your work...can't wait to see your artisic evolution. Just keep asking "what if..."
Thank you for your portrayal of Ms. Rachel Carson. Your program has renewed my hope for a better future for our world and natural environment.
The fact that the Gulf coast sits in Hurricane alley is no surprise to anyone. What is a surprise is that development has continued to be allowed along the coastal zone in such a way that one would think Hurricanes had gone extinct. What is so troubling is that rebuilding in the same low land areas is being supported by residents and polititians alike. Hello! Is anybody out there? Any study of the New Orleans area will show that this is NOT the place to build a large city. Sure, some port development, perhaps even historical districts might be warranted for rebuilding, but the vast majority of development should be moved to higher ground, away from the most likely areas that would be impacted by future hurricanes. The Delta is losing land to the ocean due to over control of rivers that used to deposit sediment, adding land and protection to developed areas. Now that land is eroding away at the same time that we are encouraging rebuilding. The low, wetlands of the coast should be restored, offering a well needed buffer to developed areas on higher ground. Only then will this ridiculous cycle of development and destruction be relegated...
Oh darn, QT works fine, its just the wmv link that doesn't doh. wmv file

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