Martin Parr. Luxury
Martin Parr, Words by Paul Smith
Chris Boot Ltd, London, 2009
“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.