In 1993, the photographer Peter Menzel travelled across the globe to capture our material world. In each country, he asked a family to empty their home and pose in front of their possessions. In Texas, the Skeen family held up their large illustrated Bible, surrounded by their Ford pickup truck, their mini-van and their dune buggy, their two TVs, multiple electrical appliances, shelves and storage cabinets filled with clothes. But even households in poorer countries revealed more things than one might expect. In Mali, the Natomo family had to make do with $250 a year but had a cassette player. In Ethiopia, the even poorer Getu family lived in a straw hut, yet owned an umbrella.
Possessions have been a central feature of human life since the beginning.