Martin Parr

Martin Parr (1952) is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. Since 1994, he has been a member of Magnum Photos. He is considered a chronicler of our age, known for his photographic projects such as The Cost of Living (1987– 1989), Small World (1987–1994), Common Sense (1995–1999), Autoportrait (1995–2000 / 1995–2015), Life’s A Beach (2013) and Real Food (2016) that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, leisure, consumption and wealth of the Western world. He has had around 100 photobooks published, and has featured in numerus exhibitions worldwide. The Martin Parr Foundation, founded in 2014, opened premises in his hometown of Bristol in 2017. It houses his own work and archive, a collection of other British and Irish photographers, and a gallery.

The problem is that photography is very glamorous and people think it is a shortcut to produce work.

Martin Parr (1952) is considered to be one of the most iconic and influential photographers of his generation. Parr, whom obtained a photography degree at Manchester Polytechnic (1970–1973), joined the classics of British documentary photography with a series of black and white photographs of the disappearing folk customs of Northern England. In the 80s he managed to make his breakthrough to the global photography scene (and market). At that time, impressed by American colour photography, he took on photographing on colour film himself. He made The Last Resort (1983–1985), a series of British working class while spending holidays in a coastal resort in New Brighton, which remains one of his most recognizable work to this day. After its first presentation in the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1986, the project triggered turbulence and division of opinions of both professionals and general public. Polarization of opinions became a constant in Parr’s photography career. The polemics he caused by first becoming a member (1994) and then the president of Magnum Photos (2013–2017) are well known. The critics castigated Parr for being cruel and voyeuristic, and that he claimed to only be photographing what he sees, while he benefited from making a mockery of others. His unconventional use of the medium, smooth traversing through different contexts of photography and flirting with obvious commercial interests was deemed controversial and questionable by many (until today).


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