Over the past 25 years, Lauren Greenfield's documentary photography and film projects have explored youth culture, gender, body image, and affluence. In this fascinating meld of career retrospective and film essay, Greenfield offers a meditation on her extensive body of work, structuring it through the lens of materialism and its increasing sway on culture and society in America and throughout the world. Underscoring the ever-increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots, her portraits reveal a focus on cultivating image over substance, where subjects unable to attain actual wealth instead settle for its trappings, no matter their ability to pay for it.
From her earliest photo studies on the seemingly privileged lives of Los Angeles high school students, through her look at the pitfalls of extreme wealth in The Queen of Versailles (Directing Award: U.S. Documentary, 2012 Sundance Film Festival), to more recent images of conspicuous consumption in Russia and China, Greenfield's work becomes a cautionary morality tale about our unquenchable desire for more.