Photographs by Martin Parr. Introduction by Paul Smith.
Chris Boot, 2009. 112 pp., 83 color illustrations, 10x10".
“With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality. I try and do this
by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving it a twist,” says British
photographer Martin Parr, who is most known for his satirical images of the
ostentatiously wealthy. Luxury is Parr’s epitaph to the age of conspicuous
consumption, with candid images of the fabulously wealthy on the international
party circuit: champagne-fuelled lunches, horse races, Moscow’s
Millionaire Fair, the Dubai Art Fair and the Beijing Motor Show, to name
a few locales. Both biting and affectionate, this series, which comprises
35 works created between 2003 and 2009, is part of the touring exhibition
Parrworld. Documenting the trends, tastes and social mores of the bourgeoisie—
diamond encrusted jewelry, pure breed puppies, racecars, endless
canapés and empty champagne bottles—Parr succeeds in capturing the
cliché-laden tedium of excess, while making the whole scene seem a little
more human.“Parr’s mobile perspective and viewpoint is that of a housefly;”
critic Neal Brown writes, characterizing the photographer’s style as “buzzing
around people’s heads, landing on the edges of their plates and food displays,
and viewing everything as a fantastically enlarged, over-colored world
upon which to masticate regurgitated vomit, and enjoyably shit.” Exquisitely
designed, this volume—with a padded, gilt-foiled mock-leather cover—
is the perfect souvenir of the era before the bubble burst. Also featured is
an introduction by leading fashion designer and Martin Parr fan, Paul Smith.
Read John Mathews's review of Luxury in photo-eye Magazine.