Martin Parr  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Martin Parr (born 1952) is a British documentary photographer and photojournalist. His photographic projects take a critical look at modern society, specifically consumerism, foreign travel and tourism, motoring, family and relationships, and food.

Parr is probably best known for his photography at New Brighton, Merseyside in the 1980s. His use of high saturation colour in photography produces some, at first glance boring and subdued images, though when you look a little deeper into them and the history behind them they are highly profound.

His satirical, witty approach to documentary photography leaves the viewer not sure whether to laugh or cry. A prime example of this is his book titled 'Sign of the Times', in which he entered peoples houses (an Englishman's castle) and photographs the ordinary, though he also combines the image with a quote from the owners. when this is done you gain a whole new appreciation for the images. His photos are often taken using macro lenses and ring flash as well as high-saturation colour film.

He has had numerous books published, and exhibitions worldwide - including an exhibition in London at the Barbican Arts Centre. Parr is also a member of the Magnum Photos Agency.

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.

He also directed 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.

In some of his recent work, Parr has collaborated with designer Paul Smith in Ilford to photograph real people sporting Smith's Autumn/Winter 07 collection. The images reveal Parr's honest and straightforward approach to photography.


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