Visualising the Poverty Line

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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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