© 2019 Anna Van Lenten

The Social Stage / Laura Morton

November 2013

Exhibit opening, screening, & talk
Tuesday November 19, 2013, 7:30 PM
Moderated by Jim Estrin, senior staff photographer and co-editor at The New York Times LensBlog

San Francisco has a thriving culture of what is often referred to as high society. This small group of wealthy people attends large, glamorous parties with each other throughout the year both to socialize and financially support local cultural institutions and other charity organizations.

 

My project, “The Social Stage,” documents the way high society behaves when it puts itself on display in these public arenas, and it hints at the complex relationships between the individuals. While some donors keep a low profile, in general the people at the galas are there to dress to the nines and be part of the scene. To many outsiders, such an outright exhibition of wealth is ostentatious. Yet the opera, ballet, symphony, certain museums, and charity organizations, rely on these patrons for the majority of their funding. The parties keep patrons happy and confer status and membership in a special community so that they’ll continue to donate substantial sums of money.When the recent economic crisis worsened an already widening gap between the richest people in the world and everyone else, I became increasingly interested in examining wealth and the effect it has on those who possess it.

 

All photos © Laura Morton.