Arts & Culture

Artist: Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan, photographer

On March 31, 2022 CNMS students had the amazing opportunity to zoom in with Chris Jordan. Chris Jordan is a photographer and digital art professional. As of today, he is in Patagonia Chile looking for his next project. Students were fascinated with what he had to say about being authentic.

Pat Metheny once said: “Improvising is not about playing something brand new every time out. It’s about showing up in a particular moment and making a gesture. A musical gesture that is so true to that moment. That it enhances the eternity of that moment and has the ability to remind us of something we may have forgotten. Or that we didn’t know that we knew in the first place.”  

“What Pat Metheny is saying, first of all, is he’s not thinking about originality. That is not in his field of perception while he’s playing. What he’s doing. What he’s thinking about is being present. He wants to be here in this moment, and so connected with what’s going on in the world. So connected with that moment. That he can express something that relates to that moment.  That to me is what it means authentic. He’s not worried about being original. his focus is on being authentic and being present. If we can be present and we can be authentic then we all know each one of us is unique. Every single one of you guys has unique. There’s never been you in the entire universe before and there will never be another one. As each one of us unique beings moves through the world no one has ever seen through those eyes, in that moment. What is in front of us. We are literally each having a unique experience in every moment. So how do we be authentic? I think the way to be authentic is we have to get out of all of the ways that we copy other people. Which is all of the sort of rules and expectations compositional principles were told to follow, ideas that we may have about what is a cliche, ideas that we have about like what’s a good photograph, what’s a bad photograph, what’s an appropriate thing to photograph and what’s a dumb thing to photograph. The more we can become aware of all of that the more we can look inside our own minds and see all the ways were following other people’s rules. Then the more we can let go of all of that and actually see what’s really in front of us and respond to that in a way that’s just true to us.  If we can do that then what we are doing will automatically be original.”  

Chris Jordan’s words on being authentic and not original motivated the students participating in the zoom. Looking at the art world from a different angle opened a door to our eyes. Chris says he doesn’t believe one needs talents to be successful in the photography world “I absolutely believe it to be true is that to be a successful photographic artist. Including an artist whose work is shown in the best galleries in the world. Requires zero amount of talent. It’s just about being present and seeing what’s in front of you and then taking a photograph of that thing. Just like being original, you can just let it go you never need to think about it again.” As well as many more words of wisdom Chris Jordan shared with us. His work is AMAZING and I strongly recommend that you take a look. I’ll leave links below.

Silent Spring, 2014     44×58″ and 60×80″; Chris Jordan and Rebecca Clark; made from 28 graphite drawings by Rebecca Clark
Depicts 183,000 birds, equal to the estimated number of birds that die in the United States every day from exposure to agricultural pesticides.

(zoomed in)
“Depicts 139,000 cigarette butts, equal to the number of cigarettes that are smoked and discarded every 15 seconds in the US. Cigarette butts are the number one littered item found in America’s public spaces including parks, beaches, waterways, and urban environments. This form of litter has far-reaching impacts on the environment: littered butts leach numerous toxic chemicals and carcinogens, contaminate water sources, and poison wildlife. The filters are made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that does not biodegrade.” – 

(zoomed-in image from the image above)

Depicts 29,000 credit cards, equal to the average number of personal bankruptcy filings every week in the US in 2010.”- 


(2009 – Current):×24

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