Martin Parr

British Photographer | Born: 1952

Martin Parr is one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation. With over 100 books of his own published, and another 30 edited by Parr, his photographic legacy is already established.

Parr also acts as a curator and editor. He has curated two photography festivals, Arles in 2004 and Brighton Biennial in 2010. More recently Parr curated the Barbican exhibition, Strange and Familiar.

Parr has been a member of the Magnum agency since 1994 and was President from 2013 - 2017. In 2013 Parr was appointed the visiting professor of photography at the University of Ulster.

Parr’s work has been collected by many of the major museums, from the Tate, the Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Martin Parr established the Martin Parr Foundation in 2017.

Source: www.martinparr.com


Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take a critical look at aspects of modern life, in particular provincial and suburban life in England. He is a member of Magnum Photos.

Born in Epsom, Surrey, Parr wanted to become a documentary photographer from the age of fourteen, and cites his grandfather, an amateur photographer, as an early influence. From 1970 to 1973, he studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic. He married Susan Mitchell in 1980, and they have one child, Ellen Parr (born 1986). He has lived in Bristol since 1987.

Parr began work as a professional photographer and has subsequently taught photography intermittently from the mid-1970s. He was first recognized for his black-and-white photography in the north of England, Bad Weather (1982) and A Fair Day (1984), but switched to color photography in 1984. The resulting work, Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton, was published in 1986. Since 1994, Parr has been a member of Magnum Photos. He has had almost 50 books published, and featured in around 80 exhibitions worldwide - including an exhibition at the Barbican Arts Centre, London. In 2007, his retrospective exhibition was selected to be the main show of Month of Photography Asia in Singapore. In 2008, he was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in recognition for his ongoing contribution to photography and to MMU's School of Art.

Parr's approach to documentary photography is intimate, anthropological and satirical. Macro lenses, ring flash, high-saturation color film, and since it became an easier format to work in, digital photography, all allow him to put his subjects "under the microscope" in their own environment, giving them space to expose their lives and values in ways that often involve inadvertent humor. For example, to create his book Signs of the Times: A Portrait of the Nation's Tastes. (1992), Parr entered ordinary people's homes and took pictures of the mundane aspects of his hosts' lives, combining the images with quotes from his subjects to bring viewers uncomfortably close to them. The result of Parr's technique has been said to leave viewers with ambiguous emotional reactions, unsure whether to laugh or cry.

Source: Wikipedia

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The Non-Conformists
Author: Martin Parr
Publisher: Aperture
Year: 2013 - Pages: 168
In 1975, fresh out of art school, Martin Parr moved to the picturesque Yorkshire Pennine mill town of Hebden Bridge. Over a period of five years, he documented the town in photographs, showing in particular the aspects of traditional life that were beginning to decline. Susan Mitchell, whom he had met in Manchester and later married, joined Parr in documenting a year in the life of a small Methodist chapel, together with its farming community.

Martin Parr was only 23 at the time and used to take black and white images. His wife wrote the texts. Another side of Martin Parr's work we really enjoyed.
 
Life
Author: Martin Parr
Publisher: Aperture
Year: 2013 - Pages: 124
Following on the heels of Martin Parr's limited-edition, album-style publication Life's a Beach, Aperture now presents this beach-friendly mini edition. Parr has been photographing the topic of the beach for many decades, documenting sunbathers, rambunctious swimmers caught mid-plunge and the eternal sandy picnic. His international career, in fact, could well be traced to the publication of The Last Resort (1986), which depicted the seaside resort of New Brighton, near Liverpool. What is perhaps less known is that this obsession has led Parr to photograph beaches around the world. This compilation, his first on the topic, presents photos of beachgoers on far-flung shores, including Argentina, Brazil, China, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Thailand, and of course, the U.K. The compilation brings to the forefront Parr's engagement with a cherished subject matter--that rare public space in which general absurdities and local quirks seamlessly fuse together. This book shows Parr at his best, startling us with moments of captured absurdity and immersing us in rituals and traditions associated with beach life the world over.
 
The Last Resort
Author: Martin Parr
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing
Year: 2010 - Pages: 84
A new edition of a modern classic of photography. Martin Parr is Europe's premier contemporary photographer, and The Last Resort is the book that is considered to have launched his career. Taken at the height of the Thatcher years, it depicts the "great British seaside" in all its garish glory. Described by some as cruel and voyeuristic and by others as a stunning satire on the state of Britain, early editions are now much sought after by collectors worldwide. Includes a new essay by Gerry Badger, photographer, architect, curator, and critic.
 
The Photobook: A History, Vol. 2
Author: Martin Parr, Gerry Badger
Publisher: Phaidon Press, Incorporated
Year: 2006 - Pages: 336
While the history of photography is a well-established canon, much less critical attention has been directed at the phenomenon of the photobook, which for many photographers is perhaps the most significant vehicle for the display of their work and the communication of their vision to a mass audience. In the second of two volumes, both co-edited by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, the history of the photobook is brought fully up to date. This volume covers company photobooks, artists' photobooks, photobooks that have been compiled by editors (rather than photographers), as well as the most recent photobooks, which chronicle contemporary life. This study provides an important corrective to the traditional history of photography. The selection of photographers made by Badger and Parr challenges the popular canon, and their survey of the history of the photobook reveals a secret web of influence and interrelationships between photographers and photographic movements around the world. The book is divided into a series of thematic chapters, each featuring a general introductory text providing background information and highlighting the dominant political and artistic influences on the photobook in the period, followed by more detailed discussion of the individual photobooks. The chapter texts are followed by spreads and images from over 200 books, which provide the central means of telling the history of the photobook. Chosen by Parr and Badger, these illustrations show the most artistically and culturally important photobooks in three dimensions, with the cover or jacket and a selection of spreads from the book shown.
 
The Photobook: A History, Vol. 1
Author: Martin Parr, Gerry Badger
Publisher: Phaidon Press, Incorporated
Year: 2004 - Pages: 320
This book provides a unique perspective on the story of photography through the particular history of the photobook. The first of two extensive volumes, it is a study of the major trends and movements that have shaped the photobook genre since the birth of photography in the early nineteenth century. It represents a valuable catalogue of rare and important photobooks. This volume covers the history of photobooks from the earliest examples of the genre from the nineteenth century, through the modernist and propaganda books of the 1930s and 40s, to the radical Japanese photobooks of the 60s and 70s. While the history of photography is a well-established canon, much less critical attention has been directed at the phenomenon of the photobook, which for many photographers is perhaps the most significant vehicle for the display of their work and the communication of their vision to a mass audience. In the first of two volumes, both co-edited by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook provides a comprehensive overview of the development of the photobook, from its inception at the dawn of photography in the early nineteenth century through to the radical Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and 70s, by way of the modernist and propaganda books of the 1930s and 40s. In his introduction, Badger argues that the photobook is one of the most significant photographic genres due to the extent of its distribution and level of availability, and contests the traditional notion that the history of photography is best represented by the original print. This study provides an important corrective to the traditional history of photography. The selection of photographers made by Badger and Parr challenges the popular canon, and their survey of the history of the photobook reveals a secret web of influence and interrelationships between photographers and photographic movements around the world. The book is divided into a series of thematic and broadly chronological chapters, each featuring a general introductory text providing background information and highlighting the dominant political and artistic influences on the photobook in the period, followed by more detailed discussion of the individual photobooks. The chapter texts are followed by spreads and images from over 200 books, which provide the central means of telling the history of the photobook. Chosen by Parr and Badger, these illustrations show around 200 of the most artistically and culturally important photobooks in three dimensions, with the cover or jacket and a selection of spreads from the book shown. Volume One also features an illuminating and provocative introduction, 'The Photobook: Between the Film and the Novel' by Badger, which is accompanied by a preface written by Parr.
 
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