Albatross: Fascination, Beauty, Pollution, and Death

by Intern Stephanie V.

Photography is a timeless medium, with frozen moments captured in beauty and macabre. Planet Magazine shines a light on the devastating and the enrapturing work of Chris Jordan with his latest collection, “Midway.” The series focuses on albatross birds in various states of decay, located in a remote sanctuary in the North Pacific.

These post-mortem portraits are visceral and haunting with the suggest imagery – albatross chicks limply on the ground with the contents of their stomachs pouring out (plastic bottle caps, lighters, scraps, and other waste). Strikingly poignant and moving yet also completely disheartening, Jordan’s work makes the viewer question the fatal power of human trash and waste.

Jordan presents these photos in an observant but non-manipulative style. In order to maintain a sense of continuity and objectivity, the artist did not tamper with any of the materials inside the birds. “…not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.” (Jordan, October 2009). Tragic, captivating, and a sense of urgency – the albatross birds never leave the viewer completely.

Images courtesy of Chris Jordan.

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