Art is often used as a medium to comment on social behaviours. An example of this is the 17th century Dutch painters who used still life paintings to comment on the loss of Christian morality in society. These artists disapproved of the decedent life styles of the rich middle classes. Their wealth was the result in the growth of mass consumerism due to improved trading routes allowing the import and export of goods. These artists used symbolism in their paintings to represent the Christian values they believed were becoming laxed in society. Their still life paintings not only commented on social behaviours but also indicated to the viewer the identity of the new rich middle classes. The demand for mass consumerism still influences the behaviour of modern society.
Inspired by the 17th century Dutch artists this photographic essay reflects on the identity and behaviour of modern society, influenced by its constant demand to buy and sell goods. Before undertaking this project I researched what defined the identity of modern society. This research showed that modern societies identity is defined by its desire to always consume more than it needs to survive. This research concluded that mass consumerism has a negative impact on the well being of our society and the sustainability of our planet. This photographic essay documents our modern societies identity of mass consumerism.