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Lauren Greenfield - One Photographer Spent 25 Years Documenting Wealth - New York Times

Lauren Greenfield (who may be most well known for her 2012 documentary “The Queen of Versailles”) has been documenting American wealth since 1992, when she began taking pictures of students at her old high school in Santa Monica. “Despite the dramatic divisions in the city revealed by the L.A. riots ... rich kids and poor kids had found common ground that their parents had not, and it was a shared love for Versace,” she writes in “Generation Wealth,” her new book. With a golden cover and 650-odd images inside, the volume is a sociological record of the extreme measures taken to acquire and spend money, what Greenfield calls “the influence of affluence.” One shot shows Tupac at the craps table in Vegas, another, a Chinese billionaire’s replica of the White House. Some of the photographs will go on view this weekend in a show of Greenfield’s work at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, and are set to land in New York this fall, around the release of her next documentary. All of this output suggests a longstanding clarity of purpose, but Greenfield says it wasn’t until the financial crisis of 2008 (which she calls “a morality tale”) that she realized the underlying theme uniting her work. “It’s not about Birkin bags or the Kardashians,” she says. “It’s about the culture that gave rise to them.”