Generation Wealth

Phaidon. May 2017. 504p. photos. ISBN 9780714872124. $75. PHOTOG
OrangeReviewStarPhotographer Greenfield (Girl Culture) has devoted years to a project that she describes as a "25-year inquiry" into the "influence of affluence." She emphasizes that her "Generation Wealth" exploration does not depict affluent one-percenters as such, but rather the "aspiration for wealth" that has taken Americans and others across the globe of all social classes on a multidecade roller-coaster ride of conspicuous consumption, widening income inequality and financial instability. The gleaming color images here are, by turns, lurid, poignant, and envy-inducing. This title is the culmination of an eight-year endeavor, the photographer working with curator Trudy Wilner Stack to sift through some half a million images that Greenfield produced over the lifespan of her project, has edited thousands of images, conducted hundreds of interviews, and expanded the investigation to encompass China, Russia, and other global spots.
VERDICT This body of work is extraordinary, fascinating, and an almost anthropological look at the ways in which wealth and status are displayed.

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