Stacy Arezou Mehrfar & Amy Stein’s TALL POPPY SYNDROME is now part of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive

Tall Poppy Syndrome

Title: Tall Poppy Syndrome

Photographers: Amy Stein & Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

Date of Publication: 2012

Publisher: Decode Books

ISBN: 978-0-9833942-2-8

In 2010, American photographers Amy Stein and Stacy Arezou Mehrfar embarked on a month-long road trip throughout New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state. They were investigating the Australian social phenomenon of tall poppy syndrome, in which successful people, or the ‘tall poppies’ get ‘cut down to size’ and are resented or ridiculed because their talents or achievements distinguish them from their peers. Is the syndrome real? Can it be documented or observed? Stein and Mehrfar set out to explore quintessential Australian life and find what evidence they could of the existence of this phenomenon. They spent their days meeting and photographing everyday Australians – from schoolchildren to in their plaid uniforms to young surfers playing at the beach to grandmothers meeting at their social clubs – all the while learning about the relationship between the group and the individual with Australian society. The resulting photographs in Tall Poppy Syndrome present their investigation into and observations of daily Australian life.