If consumerism is the predominant modern day religion, then this week’s picture shows one our most monumental cathedrals – Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates. According to news reports earlier this year, it is the world’s highest grossing shopping mall.Like religions throughout history, it’s questionable to what extent its subjects have made their choice of worship through a decision born of free will.
Some might argue that consumerism has filled a spiritual vacuum left by the diminishing Abrahamic religions in particular.
But if we are more inclined towards conspiracy theories, we could also observe that this new religion is the most effective yet at controlling and managing people; keeping them obedient and hard working, channeling their troublesome leisure time and minimising their independence of action and thought.
Sadly I have some close friends who are clearly lost in the sub-cults; I can think of one who worships at the alter of Prada, another at the church of Lamborghini.
I, myself, am sometimes attracted to the preachings of Leica, but I’ve probably already stretched this analogy much too far.
Note from the editor: this photograph is part of a series called “Consumption” that seeks to document consumerism’s impact on the environment. From resource extraction and commodity production all the way down the supply chain to retail stores and waste processing facilities, Richard artfully examines what nature has come to mean in a world that depends on buying stuff.