What is it in the photo?
Zoom in a bit closer.
It is 426000 old cell phones Americans discard every day. The photo created by Artist Chris Jordan in his Running the Number Series showing at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles. Chris Jordan try to give a new perspective of American statistics in this series by giving the number a visual meaning.
I admire his effort to increasing the public awareness of many social issues through his creative artwork. However, just like plain old statistic on paper can lie, statistic represent in photos can also lie. Chris twists the reality to deliver the stunting visual effect, just impress the audience without giving any meaningful interpretation of the statistics. He pick an arbitrarily very very large number to aggregate the statistic for his photos. Yet he forgot a simple fact, US has over 3 billion population. A photo full of old cell phones looks scary, but you do the math, it is only one new cell phone per person every two years, which is quite reasonable.
Here is my art work depicts half a cell phone, equal to the number of cell phones retired per person in the US every year.
See, old cell phone is not that scary after all if you represent the statistic in the right way.