Martin Parr: Galway Races Festival, Ireland, 1997
In Luxury, Martin Parr's eye cuts like a laser through artifice as he looks at the global culture and adornments of wealth. I say culture, because this book left me with the impression that wealth is a mono-culture: while photo essays about the disadvantaged have tended to be revealing of cultural distinctions, the wealthy in this book appear to be wearing similar designer labels (the exceptions being traditional dress found in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Delhi), attending similar social functions – and apparently aspiring to similar identities.
One memorable photo is focused on a fly on the rim of a woman's hat: beneath immaculate dress and in spite of attempts to achieve exclusivity through conspicuous consumption, we remain part of, and subject to, nature – flies land on everyone.
This review is of a library copy, but Luxury is now on my shopping list: every time I look at it, I make new discoveries.
Copyright © Richard Smallfield 2011