New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Martin Parr
Martin Parr

Martin Parr fans, and there are legions of them, as well as newcomers to his work, will welcome “Luxury,” his latest social commentary on the good life. Between 2003 and 2009, Parr traveled to Dubai, Moscow, Miami, Beijing, Paris and other locations and returned with a series of saturated color images that show the very wealthy really are different than you and me. Parr, known as a keen social observer with a satiric bite, gives us a close-up view – maybe too close at times – of rich people supposedly enjoying themselves at art fairs, concerts and horse races. Parr seems comfortable in this crowd; in one image, his camera is so close to a Parisienne’s cheek, you can count the facial hairs under her heavy make-up, her brightly painted, puckered red lips almost glaring at us. At Moscow’s Millionaire Fair, a blonde wears her fur stole with the animal’s head attached; it almost looks alive. Oblivious to all, she puffs on a big cigar.

Excess is everywhere. At Dubai’s Art Fair, Parr captured an image of a woman holding a silver bag, wearing silver shoes, a statue of a silver camel is in the background.

Parr says that while some documentarians chronicle poverty under the “concerned photographer” banner, he goes to the other extreme to portray the display of wealth as entertainment. Perhaps the question he wants you to ask yourself is, “Are these people really enjoying themselves or can having too much leave you bored with the bling?” Thanks to Martin Parr’s unique perspective, “Luxury” — for those who want an insider’s look at what used to be the good life – is a necessity.

 by unidentified photographer.
Martin Parr

Martin Parr

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