Lifestyles of rich & shameless
‘Queen of Versailles’ filmmaker exposes over-the-top lives of more money-obsessed folk
LAUREN Greenfield is captivated by wealth. For 25 years, the California photographer has focused on those living or chasing the extreme American dream — not only in America, but in China, Dubai, Milan and Moscow.
Along the way, she’s met people like Jackie and David Siegel, whose bankrupting efforts to live like royals — in a Florida palace replete with bowling alley, sushi bar and baseball field — were depicted in Greenfield’s 2012 documentary, “The Queen of Versailles.”
You’ll find the Siegels, among other rich and often ridiculous folk, in “Generation Wealth,” Greenfield’s book (Phaidon, out now) and exhibition, opening Wednesday at the International Center of Photography (ICP) museum. Growing up in 1980s California, Greenfield told The Post, opened her eyes to living large. While her college-professor parents gave her a comfortable, uppermiddle-class life, her prep-school peers were getting Porsches. “By normal standards, I was privileged, but it always felt I had less,” the 51-year-old said. And things have gotten worse. “Where we used to compare ourselves with the neighbors, in the last 25 years, we’ve spent more time with people we’ve met on TV and their wealth. ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ has literally become ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ ”
In fact, Greenfield photographed two members of that family — a preteen Kim and Kourtney — at a school dance in Bel Air, Calif., in 1992. A decade later, they’d become the It girls in what Greenfield called “a postmoral world”: materially rich yet never satisfied.
Here are the photographer’s behindthe-scenes takes on a privileged few.