Photos From Around the World of Families and Their Possessions

By
Share:

A family from Tokyo, settled on the sidewalk around their television, crowded by neatly organized electronic appliances, expelled closets, and prized heirloom pottery. Two wives, a husband, and their children in West Africa’s Mali, on the roof of their hut with the tools of their agricultural toils. A Baptist family, smiling and clutching an illustrated Bible on the suburban road loaded with furniture and appliances in Houston, Texas. Photographer Peter Menzel began his project Material World: A Global Family Portrait back in the ’90s, traveling to 30 countries around the world to capture families with most of their possessions. Using data from United Nations and the World Bank, he searched for “average” families — average in location, size, background, and occupation. Check out the resulting, slightly dated but utterly fascinating portraits in our gallery and see what sort of a material world we’re living in.

Tokyo from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Manzell and Faith D’Aluisio

Bhutan from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio.

Texas from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Mali from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Mexico from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Western Samoa from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Russia from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

China from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

India from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

South Africa from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Kuwait from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Mongolia from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Iceland from Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio