This series of photographs by Martin Parr shows the different ways in which people display their wealth. Choosing various locations across the world, and a range of situations including art fairs and race-courses, Parr has selected scenarios in which people are comfortable showing off their wealth. Designer clothes, champagne and parties are all part of this repertoire. As well as the more established wealth hot-spots in Europe and America, there are photographs from the emerging world, for example showing the Millionaires’ Fair in Moscow, the Dubai Art Fair and the Motor Show in Beijing.
Traditionally the portrayal of poverty has been the domain of the ‘concerned photographer’, but Parr has photographed wealth in the same spirit. He believes that when the newly fledged middle classes of, say, China and India demand and receive the luxury goods that we take for granted in the West, it will put considerable pressure on the world’s resources. However, we can view Parr’s photographs in a different light since the start of the global economic downturn. These images now impress us as an epitaph for an era of greed and excess. There are still many wealthy people in the world, and despite the downturn, the parties and horse racing still go on, albeit in a less showy manner. The timing of these photographs is perfect. As we slide into a new world order, we can see evidence of why the bubble burst.
Martin Parr is member of Magnum Photos.
With the collaboration of Magnum Photos.
The exhibition Planete Parr will be shown at the Jeu de Paume in Paris from June 30th to September 27th 2009.
With the support of Radio France.
Executive producer Le Tambour qui parle.
Realisation : Valéry Faidherbe and Olivier Koechlin
Martin Parr was guest artistic director for the Rencontres d’Arles in 2004. Martin Parr project The Last Resort which was first shown in Arles in 1986.