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Material Worldby Peter Menzel
Synopses & Reviews
We are witnessing the emergence of a unified world economy, as exemplified by NAFTA and GATT, that will, in theory, make goods available at cheaper prices, create new jobs throughout the world, raise standards of living, and benefit the average family. However, population growth and resource exploitation will also affect these potential benefits as patterns of consumption change. In stunning photographs and text, Material World demonstrates the present context for the emerging global economy, what it means to be "statistically average," by displaying families in more than thirty nations outside their homes - with all their possessions in view.
Among the 350 stunning images are those of a family in lush Samoa juxtaposed with a Kuwaiti family and the two Mercedes-Benzes parked outside their desert home; a family in Iceland posing with their treasured string instruments while a family in Sarajevo huddles outside their bullet-ridden apartment. The text describes what it means to be "average" in each of thirty very dissimilar cultures and the impact of each way of life on the local environment. Statistical information about each country accompanies the photo-essays so that readers can easily compare one culture with another.
Material World is a fascinating portrait of multicultural diversity and a preview of emerging issues raised by the impact of the global economy on the cultural heritage of the human community.
Photographs show the homes and possessions of average families in 30 countries around the world and document each family's lifestyle. The book puts a human face on the issues of population, environment, social justice and consumption.
In an unprecedented effort, sixteen of the worldand#8217;s foremost photographers traveled to thirty nations around the globe to live for a week with families that were statistically average for that nation. At the end of each visit, photographer and family collaborated on a remarkable portrait of the family members outside their home, surrounded by all of their possessionsand#151;a few jars and jugs for some, an explosion of electronic gadgetry for others. Vividly portraying the look and feel of the human condition everywhere on Earth, this internationally acclaimed bestseller puts a human face on the issues of population, environment, social justice, and consumption as it illuminates the crucial question facing our species today: Can all six billion of us have all the things we want?
Menzel photographed average families in each of 30 nations, posed with their possessions gathered around them. As they depict the meaning of material wealth around the world, these dramatic photos ask a fundamental question: Can all five billion of us have everything we want? "A record of striking value".--Scientific American. 359 color photos.
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