Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Lauren Greenfield.
“When the words ‘like a girl’ are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine ‘like a girl’ into a positive affirmation.” – Lauren Greenfield
“I’m also looking for the psychological elements that fuel commodity culture. For example, if we imbue girls with deep insecurity about their bodies through images of an impossible ideal, we create a really vulnerable and avid consumer. If somebody feels that they’re not OK without a certain product, you have a very deep and loyal market that will come back to the product again and again. Sometimes, this process is both rational and irrational.” – Lauren Greenfield
“You have these relationships with people that you care about, but I also try to stick to my job as filmmaker and be fair and truthful about what I saw and my experience of the people, hopefully informed by a deep understanding of them.” – Lauren Greenfield
“I’ve also been documenting an unsustainable way of life. And you see in peoples’ stories that this world of consumerism does not support the moral and spiritual values – of family and community – that people feel are most important. From an environmental perspective, the quest for more and more is not going to be possible on this planet. This is a historical documentation of an unsustainable path, and my hope is that this work allows people to think about their own agency and the potential for change.” – Lauren Greenfield
“Race is a huge factor when it comes to income and social inequality, and it plays a role in the structural barriers you are talking about. But when you’re in the upper echelon of the 1 percent – even though it’s certainly a more white demographic overall – there are fewer barriers.” – Lauren Greenfield
“Hip-hop has been so important in my work, because it speaks to the idea of money being tied to cultural capital in an honest and transparent way. When I was growing up in LA, money was equivalent to class, and it was a passport. Hip-hop emphasizes that, but Hollywood and show business bear it out. If you have money, there really is no barrier to social mobility. There are still social clubs in Newport where you can’t get in even if you have money, but that is really rare.” – Lauren Greenfield
“These days, the media is defining what cultural capital is, and it’s easily learned. If you have money, anything can be bought. We see this in China and Russia with what I call the “Bling Dynasty and New Oligarchy” in Generation Wealth. As people got rich and everybody started buying Louis Vuitton bags, it became clear that to distinguish yourself you had to have more than an expensive bag. People began to want the things that money is not supposed to be able to buy – history, tradition, education, and culture.” – Lauren Greenfield
“I’m constantly trying to deconstruct what I see and to show its beauty and its attraction. I use bright colors and strobes to get that full reflection. I want to acknowledge and reference the attraction of wealth. But I’m also looking for the layer that reveals how wealth doesn’t fulfill its promise.” – Lauren Greenfield
“The people in the popular group say there is no peer pressure because they are at the top of the food chain. Really what they are doing is just eating away at everybody else.” – Lauren Greenfield
“What I’m documenting can be hard to distill, because it’s all around us like the air we breathe. I often need to go to a place where I can capture extreme moments.” – Lauren Greenfield
“I’ve often used the extremes in my work to comment on the mainstream. I think that sometimes a subject that I’m working on, like popular culture, is so present all around us that they’re hard to see. It’s like: How do you see the air you breathe? How do you see how it affects you?” – Lauren Greenfield
“I’ve long been interested in looking at the culture of consumerism and also was interested in this connection between the American dream and the house, and the house being kind of the ultimate expression of self and success.” – Lauren Greenfield
“The 1970s were the height of social mobility. College was accessible. My grandfather was a poor immigrant who went to a public school in Ohio, and my father went to Harvard. That wasn’t unusual. There was a feeling that anything was possible and you didn’t have to be born into money to have a successful life. Now, people don’t believe in the idea that anything is possible. We have more inequality than we’ve had ever before and a greater concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.” – Lauren Greenfield
“During the Reagan eighties, the idea that money was a good thing – it was good to be rich; that wealth was a reflection of your character. We see this today in perceptions of Donald Trump: the idea that money is an expression of success and even goodness. I compare that with my dad’s generation, where the American Dream was about giving your kids a better life, but not just in material terms. The American Dream was also about doing something good in the world. The home was at the center of the dream, but home also represented community, shelter, and stability for your family.” – Lauren Greenfield
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