Martin Parr

Martin Parr is without a doubt one of the most ironic photographers of our time. Cheerful and provocative, professor of photography, art curator, collector, publisher, editor, a good family man... His biography is truly immense, and his life and work schedule are incredibly busy. In his photographs (Martin is doing documentary only), he manages to capture funny moments of everyday life. Those photographs, which often look like mockery, are always endowed with content that reflects our reality. They stick out and show what we are used to not noticing in everyday life.

Martin Parr is often criticized for his works by those who were captured. The show of complacency, consumerism and monotony of the British life was called cruelty and voyeurism by critics, but also a brilliant, talented satire. The Guardian has included the New Brighton photo series in its list of thousands of works of art that everyone should see.
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«With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality. I try and do this by taking society's natural prejudice and giving this a twist.»

Martin Parr was born in 1952 in Epsom, England. At about the age of 13, he started be interested in photography, which later (from 1970 to 1973) he studied at the Manchester Polytechnic Institute. After graduation, he immediately embarked on a career as a professional photographer, combining freelance photography with teaching. By painstakingly and patiently working both on orders for various publications and on his own projects, Martin is gradually earning a reputation.

It is noteworthy that although at that time only black and white photography could be called artistic, Martin quite quickly, already in the early 1980s, switched to color film. Likewise, with the advent of digital cameras, Parr almost immediately began to use "slr". And from that moment on, his manner of shooting has changed a little - he takes about 3000 images for one project, subsequently selecting no more than 30. Thus, 99% of the footage is sent to the trash. But what has remained unchanged from the very beginning of Martin's career is his use of flash in all pictures, even during the day, which immediately makes them recognizable and creates a touch of pretentiousness.
In fact, Parr's works, in contrast to the usual view of photographic art, which rather embellish reality, show the gray and boring everyday life, the joyless fading of old people, the ugly and funny sides of human existence. Martin Parr's works are honest and straightforward, for which he is often accused of cynicism.
"I am a real British. I think this can be seen in my photographs. My photographs are often a study of my own hypocrisy. I show something English and laugh at it, but I am full of that too. I take pictures of tourists and scoff at their bourgeoisness, but I am also quite a bourgeois tourist myself.
Another question is that the British are generally fair and self-ironic people. We know how to laugh at ourselves. This is probably why rarely anyone takes offense at me. "

In 1994 Martin Parr became a member of the famous Magnum agency. He was accepted by a margin of just one vote, despite numerous statements against. This confrontation was due to the fact that in his photography Parr rejects many of the humanistic principles that the agency adhered to. But in the future, such destructive attitude only breathed new life into British documentary photography. And now the archive of Magnum contains more than 25,000 photographs by Parr.
"A really good photo suddenly appears out of nowhere, and I don't understand how it happened. That's why I still continue to shoot - to understand how it all works out, to capture the spirit of photography"
There was a scandal recently. Over accusations of racism, Martin Parr stepped down as art director of the Bristol Photo Festival after being criticized by photographer Giovan Batturini for the foreword intro to his book "London".

The book, first published in 1969, features a photograph of a black woman opposite a photograph of a gorilla from the London Zoo. Parr apologized for participating in the project and stepped down as art director of the Bristol Photo Festival, saying that it would be "better for everyone."
Martin Parr is also known as a collector of books and photo albums, postcards with images of commonplace things, interiors and places. He filled several floors of a building he is renting in London with them. Parr publishes this collection in several albums and demonstrates at exhibitions. With the same fervor, Parr is interested in the work of novice photographers, and in addition to his photo books, he also publishes projects of other photographers. At the moment, about 80 of his own art books have already been published and another 40 have been published under his editorship. Martin also oversees exhibitions, supporting young talents. And since the late 1990s, he has been producing documentary videos.

Martin Parr has achieved many photo awards, made a huge number of exhibitions around the world, his works are kept in the collections of several dozen museums in Europe and the USA. To this day, he continues to work actively. Various organizations order his photo series and pay for trips around the world. Thanks to numerous successful exhibitions in the US and Europe, Martin Parr is now one of the most famous British photographers.
The parting words that Parr gave in one of his interviews, and which largely reflects his own manner of work, reads as follows:

"Work hard and love what you do. Be honest with yourself. The problem is that most of the students do not work at all. They don't know what "work" means. The problem with a photography career is that it looks very spectacular and vibrant. People think it's easy - take a camera and go shoot. But in fact, photography cannot hide the amount of preliminary work, and especially its absence... It is always visible! Photography is so interesting because it is both the simplest thing to do and the most difficult!"
Author Anna Laza
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