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|Born||23 May 1952
|Awards||Centenary Medal from the Royal Photographic Society in 2008|
Martin Parr (born 23 May 1952) 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.
Life and career
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 recognised for his black-and-white photography in the north of England, Bad Weather (1982) and A Fair Day (1984), but switched to colour photography in 1984. The resulting work, The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton, was published in 1986.
It is difficult from a perspective of almost a quarter of a century to underestimate the significance of The Last Resort, either in British photography or Martin Parr's career. For both, it represented a seismic change in the basic mode of photographic expression, from monochrome to colour, a fundamental technical change that heralded the development of a new tone in documentary photography.
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 colour 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 humour. 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.
Besides being a photographer, Parr is a keen collector of postcards, photographs and various other items of vernacular and popular culture, and many of his collections have been used as the basis for publications. Since the 1970s, Parr has collected and publicised the garish postcards made between the 1950s and 1970s by John Hinde and his team of photographers. The images made by Hinde and his team are a key influence on Parr's colour photography.
As an admirer of this medium he has published several photobooks as well as a work about photobooks. The Photobook: A History (in two volumes) covers more than 1,000 examples of photobooks from the 19th century through to the present day. The work was a collaboration with the critic Gerry Badger which took eight years to complete.
Parr's first contact with the medium of film was his collaboration with Nick Barker from 1990-1992, taking pictures to accompany Barker's film Signs of the Times. In 1997, Parr began producing his own television documentaries with Mosaic Film.
He was cameraman on the film, It's Nice Up North with comedian Graham Fellows as his character John Shuttleworth. The film is a comic documentary filmed over several years in Shetland and was released in 2006.
Awards and honours
In 2008 Parr was awarded the Centenary Medal of The Royal Photographic Society 'in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography' which also carried with it an Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) of The Society.
- Bad Weather. London: Zwemmer, 1982. ISBN 0-302-99996-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- A Fair Day: Photographs from the West Coast of Ireland. Salem House, 1984. ISBN 0-907797-10-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton. Wallasey, Merseyside: Promenade Press, 1986. ISBN 0951141406 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2002. ISBN 1899235167 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2009. ISBN 1904587798 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- One Day Trip. Editions de la différence, Pas-de-Calais, 1989.
- The Cost of Living. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0-89381-439-3 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Cornerhouse, 1989. ISBN 0-948797-55-X [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Signs of the Times: A Portrait of the Nation's Tastes. Cornerhouse, 1992.
- Bored Couples. Paris: Gallery du Jour, 1993.
- Home and Abroad. London: Jonathan Cape, 1994. ISBN 0-224-03132-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- From A to B: Tales of Modern Motoring. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-36984-1 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Small World: A global photographic project 1987–1994. (with Simon Winchester) Stockport, Cheshire: Dewi Lewis, 1995. ISBN 1-899235-05-1 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- West Bay. Rocket Press, 1997.
- Food. Galerie Agnès B, 1998.
- Japonais Endormis. Galerie Agnès B, 1998. ISBN 2-906496-29-4 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Common Sense. Dewi Lewis, 1999. ISBN 1-899235-07-8 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Sguardigardesani. Milan, Charta, 1999.
- Benidorm. Sprengel Museum Hannover, 1999. ISBN 3-89169-145-9 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Boring Photographs. 2000. (Photographs of Boring, Oregon: not postcards. Edition limited to 12 signed copies.)
- Think of England. Phaidon. Hardback, 2000. ISBN 0-7148-3991-4 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Paperback, 2004. ISBN 0-7148-4454-3 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Flowers. Munkedals: Munken & Trebruk, 1999. Galerie Du Jour Agnès B, 2001.
- Cherry Blossom Time in Tokyo. 2001.
- Martin Parr. London: Phaidon Press. Hardback, 2002. ISBN 0-7148-3990-6 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Paperback, 2005.
- Martin Parr. Portfolio. Te Neues. ISBN 3-570-19445-0 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Tutta Roma. Contrasto, 2007. ISBN 88-6965-016-2 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- The Phone Book: 1998-2002. Rocket Press, 2002. ISBN 0-946676-53-4 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. ISBN 3-9806647-2-4 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Martin Parr Postcards. London: Phaidon, 2003. ISBN 0-7148-4345-8 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Mexico. London: Chris Boot, 2006. ISBN 0-9546894-8-8 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Fashion Magazine. Paris : Magnum Photos, ISBN 978-2-9524102-0-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Fashion Newspaper. Tokyo, 2007. Published to accompany an exhibition.
- Autoportrait. Stockport, Cheshire: Dewi Lewis, 2000. ISBN 1-899235-72-8 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- From Our House to Your House: Celebrating the American Christmas. Stockport, Cheshire: Dewi Lewis, 2002. ISBN 1-899235-34-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Boring Postcards. London: Phaidon, 1999. Hardback ISBN 0-7148-3895-0 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Paperback ISBN 0-7148-4390-3 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK])
- Boring Postcards USA. London: Phaidon, 2000. Hardback ISBN 0-7148-4000-9 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Paperback ISBN 0-7148-4391-1 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Langweilige Postkarten. London: Phaidon. ISBN 0-7148-4062-9 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Saddam Hussein Watches. London, 2004.
- David Goldblatt: Photographs. Milan: Contrasto. ISBN 88-6965-015-4 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Our True Intent Is All for Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin's Photographs. London: Chris Boot, 2002. ISBN 0-9542813-0-6 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Bliss: Postcards of Couples and Families. Chris Boot, 2003. ISBN 0-9542813-3-0 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- The Photobook: A History. (with Gerry Badger) London: Phaidon.
- Martin Parr. by Sandra Phillips. Phaidon, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7148-4528-9 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Parr World. Postcards. Chris Boot, 2008. ISBN 978-1-905712-10-6 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Parr World. Objects. Chris Boot, 2008. ISBN 978-1-905712-08-3 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Playas. Editorial RM and Chris Boot, 2009.
- Luxury. 2009. Chris Boot. ISBN 1-905712-13-8 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Joachim Schmid Is Martin Parr · Martin Parr Is Joachim Schmid. Self-published, 2009.
- Japan. Tokyo: Super Labo, 2011. ISBN 4-905052-13-0 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Life's a Beach. New York: Aperture. Copublished with Xavier Barral. 2012. ISBN 978-1597112246 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK],
- Coomes, Phil (29 February 2012). "England Uncensored by Peter Dench". BBC Online. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- Robert Ayers (November 15, 2006), Martin Parr, ARTINFO, retrieved 2008-07-14
- Hamilton, Peter (2013). "Northern Exposures". British Journal of Photography (Incisive Financial Publishing Limited) 160 (7808): 64. "many of the images are in colour - a medium in which Bulmer was the British pioneer, and way ahead of photographers now considered scions of the metier, such as William Eggleston, who only started to dabble with it a decade later, and Martin Parr, post-1970."
- Parr, Martin (2009). The Last Resort. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-904587-79-8 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- List of 2008 Honorary Graduates
- Williams, Val - 'Martin Parr'
- Boring Postcards