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Chris Jordan at the 2008 IIDA Leaders Breakfast

“Six years ago today I was a very angry, lonely corporate lawyer,” recalls Chris Jordan, the keynote speaker at the 2008 IIDA Leaders Breakfast at the Four Seasons in San Francisco on Tuesday morning.

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Named the 2008 Eco-ambassador for National Geographic Channels International, this lawyer-turned-photographer described his leap from the courtroom to the darkroom in an occasion that also honored C. David Robinson and Hank Dunlop for their achievements in the field of interior design.

Jordan presented larger-than-life digital photography from his recent collection, Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait, in tandem with statistics from the United States’ problem with mass consumption. From his perspective, it is impossible to comprehend the impact of our daily trash unless you evoke the sense of alarm in our culture—one that has detached itself from emotion.

“I think of myself as a translator,” Jordan said after an audience member asked if he now feels enlightened, “I just change the dry, unfeeling language of data into a visual language that allows for feeling.”

Image courtesy of Andy Pischalnikoff

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