It’s no secret that the wealth gap between the top one-percent and the rest of the global population is continuing to grow.
A study conducted by Oxfam and released this year shows that just eight men, with a combined net worth of $426 billion, share the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.
In his book and traveling gallery show, “1% Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality,” curator and photo editor Myles Little explores the complex issue of wealth inequality by showing a collection of work from various photographers.
“I want people to start a conversation about economic fairness, about our priorities, and about our values as a society,” he told Business Insider. “Are we celebrating the right heroes? Are we treating the right people well? Or are our sympathies misguided?”
These are the questions he hopes viewers of his show contemplate as they get an exclusive look into the lives of the super rich.
We spoke to Little about the project and how it came together.
Little conceived the idea for the show while on vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he and a fellow curator discussed photography, wealth, and inequality. Little left inspired to begin curating a selection where the three intersected. This image, “Varvara in Her Home Cinema,” explores what it’s like to grow up as a privileged child in Russia. Little said Skladmann described this image as “a butterfly trying to escape.”
“Varvara in Her Home Cinema,” Moscow, 2010, from Anna Skladmann’s series “Little Adults”
This image is from the series “Removing Mountains,” which examines the coal-mining industry’s effects on the culture and landscape of Appalachia. Little chose this photo for its ominous tone. It speaks to “the environmental costs of consumption and privilege,” he said. “The costs that might be hidden behind a nice tall row of trees, but will, in fact, affect other people down-wind.”
“Cheshire, Ohio,” 2009, from Daniel Shea’s series “Removing Mountains”
“This photograph comes from a diamond mine in Tanzania. Within this series [photographer David] Chancellor also documents impoverished locals who happen to live close to the mine, and who are scrambling all over the rocks to try to get traces of diamond dust or rock,” Little said. “I just love this perfect distillation into one frame of high luxury, the environmental costs of mining, and the high-powered violence that can be brought to bear when privilege is questioned.”
“Untitled # IV,” Mine Security, North Mara Mine, Tanzania, 2011, David Chancellor/kiosk