Friday, April 28, 2006

Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel

Sometimes library books fall apart, and we have to buy new copies. That was the case at my library with Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel, an important book about the disparity in material wealth. The author's project was to visit families around the world and photograph all their possessions. Every item that a family owned was taken out of the house and assembled outdoors for a picture with the family. The resulting book shows the wealth and poverty of people of many nations. For a good look at third world families, look at pages 14 (Mali), 28 (Ethiopia), 40 (Mongolia), 96 (Uzbekistan), and 155 (Haiti). Though these families own little, many of them are smiling. Maybe what you own is not what makes you happy.

Though the book is now twelve years old, it is still relevant. Some of these families may have more today, but the disparity is probably the same in most cases. It still circulates. Readers may also want to see Women in the Material World.

Menzel, Peter. Material World: A Global Family Portrait. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994. ISBN 0871564378


Laura said...

I saw a display of these photos at an airport a few years ago. I was stuck there for a few hours between planes and passed some of the time looking at the exhibit. I didn't know it was a book, too!

Anonymous said...

I own this book... I'm not sure exactly how I got it.. but it's amazing! I love it and hope that I can share it with others, and they can appriciate it how I have.