In a new book, photo editor Myles Little takes a provocative approach to exploring the lifestyles of the world’s wealthiest one percent.
“1% Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality,” crowdfunded on Kickstarter and set to be released in December, is Little’s attempt to contrast the class divide between the world’s wealthiest and poorest with images from various photographers.
According to Oxfam research released earlier this year, the richest 1% will own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.
Little told Business Insider:
“I want people to start a conversation about economic fairness, about our priorities, and about our values as a society. Are we celebrating the right heroes? Are we treating the right people well? Or are our sympathies misguided?”
Little said that the idea for the project was conceived while he was away on holiday, visiting Oaxaca, Mexico, where he met up with Daniel Brena, a fellow curator.
The two conversed about their photography interests and greater world issues like social inequality and the world’s wealth distribution imbalance. Little was inspired to combine the three topics.
Little borrowed his show’s concept from a documentary photography selection that premiered at the MOMA in 1955 called “The Family Man” by famed photographer Edward Steichen. Little described “The Family Man’s” underlying message as a cohesive community who found strength in working together, but said that over the years, that message has “become less and less accurate.”
“The show is about exclusivity; it’s about privilege, and so I’m using that language of privilege and wealth to critique privilege and wealth,” he told Business Insider.
While many may think Little is demonizing the world’s wealthy, he was careful to say:
“I don’t think that all wealthy people are villains, at all. This is why I included the image of the Highline Park in New York City, which was built with huge donations from wealthy individuals. It’s just a wonderful addition to the city.”
Little concluded by saying:
“I welcome the conversation whether you agree with me, or think it’s totally off base. I want to hear what people have to say, I want to hear why [inequality] is an important issue, or why you don’t think it’s the right issue [to talk about] at all.”
1. Varvara in Her Home Cinema, Moscow, 2010, from Anna Skladmann’s series “Little Adults,” which explores what it feels like to grow up as a privileged child in Russia.
2. Cheshire, Ohio, 2009, from Daniel Shea’s series “Removing Mountains,” which examines the coal-mining industry’s effects on the culture and landscape of Appalachia.
3. Untitled # IV, Mine Security, North Mara Mine, Tanzania, 2011, David Chancellor — kiosk.
4. Paradise Now Nr. 18, 2008, from Peter Bialobrzeski’s series “Paradise Now,” which documents nature that is artifically illuminated by large Asian cities.
5. Shanghai Falling (Fuxing Lu Demolition), 2002, Greg Girard.
6. A man floats in the 57th-floor swimming pool of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, with the skyline of the Singapore financial district behind him. 2013, Paolo Woods & Gabriele Galimberti —INSTITUTE.
7. Hollywood, California, 2007, from Jesse Chehak’s book “Fool’s Gold,” which explores iconic landscapes of the American West.
8. “Roma Hills” Guard-Gated Homes Looking East; 3,000-8,000 sq feet, Henderson, NV; 2012 ©2012 Michael Light, from Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain, Radius Books.
9. Legless star cleaner on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2005, Juliana Sohn.
10. Chrysler 300, 2007, Floto+Warner.
11. Projector, 2012, from Mike Osborne’s book “Floating Island,” which explores the newly built casinos and decaying military structures in the neighboring communities of Wendover, Utah, and West Wendover, Nevada.
12. A street preacher in New York appeals to Wall Street to repent. 2011, Christopher Anderson —Magnum Photos.
13. Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 2009, David Leventi.
14. The Highline: Above 34th Street Eastward, 2004, Jesse Chehak.
15. Harvard University, 2006, Shane Lavalette.