• 11.20.13

Photographing Our World Of Constant Consumption

From a young woman chowing down to the protests from people who can’t consume enough, these images depict the idea of “consumption” in its many forms.

Consumption: It’s what makes the world go round. What we buy and consume feeds industry and commerce and makes places vibrant. It’s what we do most of the time–other than when we’re working, so we can consume more.


In these photos, shortlisted for this year’s Prix Pictet award, you see consumption from its many angles: the young woman chowing down on a table of food, a sex doll packaged up for later use, the huge machinery of the global supply chain, the environmental distress from intensive agriculture, the protests from people who can’t consume enough.

Image: Courtesy of Mishka Henner

Started in 2008 by a Swiss bank, the Pictet focuses on sustainability themes. This year’s shortlist has 11 artists, all nominated by a team of critics, curators, journalists, and gallerists. They include Mishka Henner, who shoots feedlots and oilfields (and who we featured this summer); Beijing-based Hong Hao, whose series is called My Things; Abraham Oghobase, from Nigeria, who zeroes in on a fuel subsidy protest; New York’s Adam Bartos, who depicts a Honda wheel and yard sale; and Laurie Simmons, who photographs those sex dolls.

The winner will be announced next May and receives 100,000 Swiss francs (about $108,000) plus a further commission from Pictet & Cie, the bank.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.