• Kevin Luo

The Poverty Line

"The Poverty Line" is a collaboration project between photographer Stefen Chow and Economist Hui-Yi Lin. Within each piece, distinct food purchased from local markets is placed on newspapers of that particular region. The value of the food items displayed is the same as the poverty line of that country. The collaborative project was nominated for Prix Pictet and was the winner of the Arles Photography Open Salon. The project was exhibited in several countries and Chow was invited to present at TED. Below is one piece from the project. This photo was taken in April of 2012, showcasing 9 plain buns bought in Beijing, China costing 6.30RMB (0.99usd or 0.75 euros).


Image via lensculture ©Stefen Chow

The project first began in China in 2010; subsequently, through a span of over 2 years, the project has expanded to 24 countries across 6 continents. Through the project, Stefen Chow wants to explore one simple question: what does poverty mean in different countries? Through Chow's vision, the project uses the universal lens of food to examine the choices one would face if one lived at the poverty line.

Depicted below are three cheeseburgers($4.90 total) in New York City, USA in October of 2011.

Image via lensculture ©Stefen Chow



Stefen Chow is currently based in Beijing, China (Stefen Chow on Instagram). Since The Poverty Line, Chow has garnered recognition and awards from National Geographic, the World Press Photo, Photographie de la Paris, and has been featured by BBC.




Bananas in Antananarivo, Madagascar, taken in September of 2011. The bananas cost 127.27 Malagasy ariary, which is 0.64 USD or 0.51 euros.




Cabbages in Noida, India, taken in December of 2011. The bananas cost 32 Indian Rupees, which is 0.60 USD or 0.46 euros.





Apples in Dubai, UAE, taken in September of 2014. The Apples cost 11.08 Emirati Dirham, which is 3.02 USD or 2.30 euros.



Scallops in Sydney, Australia, taken in August of 2011. The Scallops cost 7.52 AUD, which is 8.02 USD or 5.61 euros.


All Images via lensculture ©Stefen Chow








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