| Read the interview with the photographer: A Battle at Midway

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

All photographs copyright Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles | Image Permalink

Appetite for Destruction

By Greg Boustead / February 18, 2010

In an attempt to envisage the world’s largest collection of refuse, the photographer Chris Jordan traveled to a lonely swath of the Pacific Ocean. The Midway Islands rest in the heart of what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—an enormous, growing cluster of plastic waste shaped by broad-scale ocean currents between Japan and the west coast of the United States. The area is home to most of the global Laysan Albatross population and over a third of the world’s Black-footed Albatross. Here, the young marine birds are dying in staggering numbers. Scanning the ocean for food, the Albatross confuse the plastic for food and feed it to their nesting young. The result, captured here in Jordan’s series, is both surreal and sobering. Nothing in these photographs is staged: Each is unadulterated, with every plastic-filled carcass exactly as the photographer found it. Jordan hopes the imagery will alert the public to an ecological crisis that, while largely unseen and incomprehensible, is relentlessly escalating. “To me, the birds look like us: filling themselves with something that is not nourishing, thinking that it is, and killing themselves in the process,” Jordan says. “Isn’t that what we're all doing as a culture?”

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