TIME magazine photo editor Myles Little, a born-and-bred Charlestonian who now lives in New York, is curating a global, group documentary photo exhibit called One Percent: Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality. Rather than focusing on the impoverished, as documentary photography often does, this show exhibits photography of the rich, taking a sharp look at economic injustice through the lens of those who have plenty — or, often, the juxtaposition of great riches and great poverty.
Little developed the idea for the show after meeting a fellow photographer named Daniel Brena while in Oaxaca, Mexico. “The idea to examine wealth around the world grew out of conversations we had together,” Little says. “The choice of photographs, overall aesthetic, and logistical work have been my own.”
Take, for example, a photo by Juliana Sohn, shot in Hollywood: a legless, homeless man shines stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In another photo by Guillaume Bonn, an African chef waits by a buffet table in the middle of Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. He’s awaiting the wealthy guests who will arrive by hot air balloon and sip champagne on the savannah. Another photo by Christopher Anderson shows an African-American street preacher in front of the New York Stock Exchange, calling on Wall Street to repent.
These and the other artists involved in One Percent hail from places like Ukraine, Germany, the U.K., and Madagascar, in addition to the U.S. and Canada. They represent publications including New York magazine, Newsweek, TIME, Vanity Fair, and National Geographic, and have shown work in museums around the world.
“I see the issue all the time at my work as a photo editor at a news magazine in New York City,” Little says. “By looking at news photographs, I catch a little glimpse of life all over the world, and I can tell you: the level of wealth enjoyed by the few, and the level of poverty experienced by the many, is staggering.”
Although the exhibit will not be traveling to Charleston — instead it’s hitting China, Nigeria, the UAE, Wales, and Bosnia and Herzegovina — you can see a lot of the photos online and read about the exhibit at onepercentshow.com. Little is also working to create a book out of the photographs and has started a Kickstarter project to fund it. Check it out here.
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