￼￼Liquidation Sale VII, 2000. ￼Mitch Epstein ￼￼New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana II, 2005. ￼Mitch Epstein
After six months of media pantomime and make-America-proud electioneering, the U.S. presidential scrap finally kicked off last night. At last, we got to the beginning of the start of the business end of choosing the candidates who are to duke it out in November.
The Iowa Caucuses threw up some winners and some losers, but I was most interested in how the billionaire Trump bombed and how avowed Socialist Bernie Sanders went toe-to-toe with the SuperPAC-fuelled Hillary machine.
Strangely, early in the races, news commentary threw Trump and Sanders in together as outsiders and insurgents. They both represented challenges to political orthodoxy. Bernie adheres to the principles of leftie politics; he’s almost by-the-book socialist. A pure version of the left. (Whether Trump is the pure version of rightwing politics, I’ll leave to others to debate. He does seems to have taken conservatives’ hatred to it’s extreme.)
Presidential campaigns invariably come down to economics and 2016 has proved no different. The United States is more than seven years on from the Great Recession and yet still wealth disparity is at the forefront of political debate. Either we (oil) barrel our way out of economic malaise hoping that everyone wins a piece of the wealth-pie or we seek to tax the United States’ gradually growing economy to redistribute the wealth.
Iowa was fascinating because it was the first taste of how voters think about daring approaches to national fiscal management. Trump, an anti-establishment bully of capitalism, lost out in the Hawkeye State whereas Sanders, the optimistic, social program-loving senator held his own.
In this moment, we must remember that the term “The 1%” did not exist in public lexicon before the Occupy Movement.￼￼￼ Sanders resonated because he faces the economic facts. We know the economic gap is larger than ever before. What’s this got to do with photography? Well, depicting economic forces and inequality is no easy task. Not one image can do it, but perhaps a collection can. No collection does it better than Myles Little’s 1%: Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality.
In a follow up to my article Photos of the 1% and the Interests They Protect and to mark the occasion of Lyttle’s exhibition making it to book, I have shared Geoff Dyer’s introductory essay on Vantage.
This resilience [as read in Lange and Evans’ photographs] was easily incorporated into the ideology of ceaseless endeavour that continues to underpin the system of exploitation that condemned them to destitution in the first place. It’s just that now, instead of loading up your jalopy and heading for California, you take a second, badly paid job; The Grapes of Wrath has turned into Nickel and Dimed. The iconic photographs of the Great Depression, meanwhile, have acquired a kind of stonewashed glamour.
Read the piece in full: Geoff Dyer on Globalization, Inequality and Photography
￼￼Refugees arriving on Kos, Greece, in August 2015. ￼Jörg Brüggemann—OSTKREUZ ￼
Untitled #5, from Hedge. 2010. Nina Berman—NOOR
￼Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Monte Carlo, Monaco. 2009. David Leventi
Untitled #IV, Mine Security, North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania. 2011. David Chancellor
Chrysler 300. 2007. Floto+Warner ￼￼
A chef from a nearby luxury lodge waits for his guests to arrive from a hot air balloon excursion before serving them champagne in the middle of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. 2012. Guillaume Bonn—INSTITUTE
Tong, aged twenty-nine, poses for her wedding pictures at Princess Studio, a wedding photo studio in Shanghai, China. 2013. Guillaume Herbaut—INSTITUTE ￼￼
￼Jeff Koons, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 2012. Henk Wildschut
Cole Haan, Chicago, IL, 2013. Brian Ulrich
Looking East Over Unbuilt “Ascaya” Lots, Black Mountain Beyond, Henderson, NV. ￼2010. ￼Michael Light
Rivoli Theater, Berkeley, CA, 2013. Opened as a cinema and performance space in 1925, closed in the nineteen-fifties. Subsequently used by various supermarkets. Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre ￼
￼A twenty-five-year-old British man in London undergoes surgery to reduce the size of his nose. 2011. Zed Nelson
￼Residents, Vaalkoppies (Beaufort West Rubbish Dump), 2006. Mikhael Subotzky, courtesy Goodman Gallery