Martin Parr is a British, documentary photographer. His work relates to my project through his documentation of the social classes of England, particularly those series documenting high-class Britishness, as seen in his Luxury series. Some images even feature hunting and racing locations. Also his use of garish colour is similar to that of my fashion story, furthermore the perspectives he takes are unusual, alike my photographs which display unusual perspectives for documenting a fox hunt.
Parr’s photographs are original and entertaining, accessible and understandable. But at the same time they show us in a penetrating way how we live, how we present ourselves to others, and what we value.
“Leisure, consumption and communication are the concepts that this British photographer has been researching for several decades now on his worldwide travels. In the process, he examines national characteristics and international phenomena to find out how valid they are as symbols that will help future generations to understand our cultural peculiarities. Parr enables us to see things that have seemed familiar to us in a completely new way. In this way he creates his own image of society, which allows us to combine an analysis of the visible signs of globalisation with unusual visual experiences. In his photos, Parr juxtaposes specific images with universal ones without resolving the contradictions. Individual characteristics are accepted and eccentricities are treasured.” <http://www.martinparr.com/introduction/ >
In a way, I too am creating my own image of the hunting community “he creates his own image of society” by the unusual documentation of the hunt, admiring their fashion traditions.
“Parr has said of his photography:
The fundamental thing I’m exploring constantly is the difference between the mythology of the place and the reality of it… Remember I make serious photographs disguised as entertainment. That’s part of my mantra. I make the pictures acceptable in order to find the audience but deep down there is actually a lot going on that’s not sharply written in your face. If you want to read it you can read it.” <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Parr >
“There is nothing subtle in Parr’s picture of the tourist in Mexico. Reflexive – the hot pink woman taking a snapshot of something not shown in the frame – Parr’s photograph takes the stereotype of the over-dressed tourist one step further: she is a contemporary philistine who has aimed her camera the wrong way. The ancient pyramid, replete with historical and cultural significance, becomes merely her excuse for “being there”. With impish eye, Parr contrasts the colour, form, and scale of his woman with the simple grandeur of the weather-washed stone monument on the grassy, green plain. Martin Parr depicts our society as one of flighty interest and little intellectual curiousity.”
FAQ Martin Parr website:
- “How did you achieve these bright colours?
I used amateur film, most recently Fuji 400 Superior for the 6/7 cm camera and Agfa Ultra or Fuji 100 asa film for the ring flash and macro lens. This combined with flash gives very high colour saturation, there is no Photoshop used.”
- “Now that you use digital, do you pump up the colours using Photoshop?
No, not at all, I just let the colour look as natural as possible, but of course flash does help saturation.”
- “When did you first do fashion photography?
The Italian magazine Amica were the first people to commission fashion work in roughly 1999, I now do about 4/5 fashion shoots a year. I am currently exploring the whole idea of making fashion look more believable and like the idea of doing street casting, indeed trying to make fashion not look like fashion.”
- “What is your relationship to humour?
I feel I am part of a long tradition in the UK in employing irony as part of my work. Although I deal with serious subjects these can be made more accessible with this element thrown in. Also that same vulnerability that comics often deal with is very similar to the vulnerability and ambiguities, I want to illustrate.”
Think of England
“Think of England is a comic, opinionated, affectionately satirical photo-essay about the identity of England. As Scotland and Wales consolidate their status as nations and Great Britain begins to unravel, this colour-saturated collection of images contributes to the debate about what it means to be English. Quintessentially English himself, Martin Parr’s great achievement as a photographer is his ability to transform the obvious into the surprising, reinventing clichés of Englishness as provocative revelations. His tour of obvious England takes in Ascot and the charity shop, seaside resorts, herbaceous borders, the bring-and-buy stall, cucumber sandwiches and cups of tea, baked beans and bad footwear.
Arguably Britain’s most important contemporary photographer, Parr’s is a prolific and popular mischief-maker in the world of photography, journalism, art and fashion. Think of England is a book which will amuse and abuse the English sensibility, an accessible and humorous study into the nature of Englishness as the United Kingdom is dismantled.” <http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=29YL53AJ63L >
Quintessentially British images photographed by Martin Parr!
Luxury is a series of photographs which features Parr’s photographs from five years of watching the wealthy at international champagne-fuelled gatherings, including various locations such as art fairs, horse racing and notable luxury events including the Millionaires Fair, Moscow, the Dubai Art Fair and the Art Basel Miami.Of course designer clothes, champagne and parties are all part of this repertoire.
“Both biting and affectionate, this series, which comprises 35 works created between 2003 and 2009, is part of the touring exhibition Parrworld. Documenting the trends, tastes and social mores of the bourgeoisie— diamond encrusted jewelry, pure breed puppies, racecars, endless canapés and empty champagne bottles—Parr succeeds in capturing the cliché-laden tedium of excess, while making the whole scene seem a little more human.” <http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=DQ301 >