Money talks. Teens in Los Angeles discuss money: getting it, spending it and learning to live without it.
An original short film by award-winning filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield, kids + money is a conversation with young people from diverse Los Angeles communities about the role of money in their lives. From rich to poor, Pacific Palisades to East L.A., kids address how they are shaped by a culture of consumerism.
A decade ago, photographer Lauren Greenfield’s breakthrough monograph, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood (Knopf), explored the way Los Angeles youth is affected by an overwhelming materialism that exalts image. One of the photographs from Fast Forward depicted Phoebe, a bored, tutu-clad three-year old, lying on a couch in the Barneys shoe department. Now 16, Phoebe makes a return appearance in kids + money. Sensitive to the adverse effects of affluence, she says:
In L.A., the money is on the surface level. When you meet someone, it’s like, “Hi. I’m this person. I’m rich,” or “Hi, I’m this person. I wish I was rich.” It shows up everywhere. How tan you are, what jewelry you’re wearing. Girls have $3000 book bags just for school. It doesn’t stop in high school—what car you drive, where you work, what kind of suit you are wearing. It’s a whole image thing that Hollywood forces you to fit into.
In kids + money, Greenfield returns to her native Los Angeles to take the cultural temperature of a generation imprinted by commercial values. Born of the extremes of poverty and wealth that define the Los Angeles landscape, kids tell their stories in a series of interview-based “portraits.”