The raison d'ĂȘtre of this blog is to review quality books, music, photography and other content that is seldom brought to our attention by the mainstream media.

The title EV+1 is photographic jargon for Exposure Value plus 1: increasing exposure by one stop from the metered value. Photographers use exposure compensation in order to obtain a correct exposure, when the light meter's averaged reading would be incorrect. Like a photographer allowing an extra stop of light to reach the film, I hope to shed a little light on a few under-appreciated gems.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Martin Parr: Luxury

Martin Parr: Galway Races Festival, Ireland, 1997
Documentary photographers have traditionally been drawn to adversity: deprivation, crisis and aftermath; less often have they looked at the privileged.

In Luxury, Martin Parr's eye cuts like a laser through artifice as he looks at the global culture and adornments of wealth. I say culture, because this book left me with the impression that wealth is a mono-culture: while photo essays about the disadvantaged have tended to be revealing of cultural distinctions, the wealthy in this book appear to be wearing similar designer labels (the exceptions being traditional dress found in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Delhi), attending similar social functions – and apparently aspiring to similar identities.

One memorable photo is focused on a fly on the rim of a woman's hat: beneath immaculate dress and in spite of attempts to achieve exclusivity through conspicuous consumption, we remain part of, and subject to, nature – flies land on everyone.

This review is of a library copy, but Luxury is now on my shopping list: every time I look at it, I make new discoveries.

Copyright © Richard Smallfield 2011

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