Visualising the Poverty Line


What does it mean to be poor, really?

That was the question photographer Stefen Chow asked when he started The Poverty Line. The undertaking is unusual for a photography project, because Chow isn’t looking for answers through moving portraits or barren landscapes. Instead he’s relying on cold, hard numbers. The Poverty Line strips away emotion in favour of a bare-bone analysis, distilling poverty to an issue of choice: What foods can the world’s poor afford to live on, day to day?

Together with his wife, economist Lin Hui-Yi, he set about figuring out what a country’s poverty line is in the form of a perperson, per-day rate. Armed with that figure, the Beijing-based Malaysian creates a visual portrait of what food items someone living on the poverty line can afford.

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