A one-off wander into luxury London department store Harrods is a rite of passage for many, yet for the super spenders it’s just like wandering into a plusher Debenhams. In Dougie Wallace’s project, Harrodsburg, the photographer captures the affluence and grandeur on display in the surrounding Knightsbridge streets.
With fancy furs and shimmering designer bags, the images are saturated with rich colours gleaming with opulence. Dougie describes the series as an “exposé of the emergence of an ultra-affluent elite,” which derives from Gulf millionaires coming to the area in the mid 1970s, who were later joined by Oligarchs and other powerful, affluent groups, forming a global tribe of the ultra-rich. The series won the inaugural Magnum Photography award 2016, and the images are set to be published in a book by Dewi Lewis, allowing viewers to gawk over the excess of well-dressed shoppers in even more detail.
Harrodsburg started accidentally, while Dougie was working on a different project. “I was visiting Knightsbridge regularly for a series I’d been working on comparing the life average expectancy in Glasgow (54 for men) verses the average life expectancy in Kensington and Chelsea (78 for men). The theatre played out on the streets daily around Harrods caught my attention and I turned my camera to capturing the madness around there,” explains the photographer. “All my photo series have a comic element but they also convey a larger message about society as a whole. Harrodsburg talks about wealth, greed, excess and accentuates the huge gap between the 1% and the rest of us.”
To catch a glimpse of Dougie’s process, the photographer is set to feature in an episode of BBC4’s What do Artists Do All Day (16 March 2017), which follows the photographer shooting on the streets of Knightsbridge, looking for the perfect shot.
Harrodsburg by Dougie Wallace and published by Dewi Lewis will launch on 21 March 2017 and to coincide with the book, an exhibition of Dougie’s series is on at ThePrintSpace, London from 16 March – 21 March 2017.
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