Martin Parr

Short biography
Martin Parr was born in 1952 in Surrey, southeast England. He learned his craft and in Manchester. He worked very successfully in the field of black and white photography, but in the 80s, when it became possible to shoot in color, he was one of the first to experiment with color film.

Already a well-known documentary filmmaker and teacher, Martin Parr started a family. His only daughter did not follow in her father’s footsteps, but mastered the profession of a culinary specialist, eventually becoming a chef. Martin himself has long been retired, but still actively continues to do what he loves.

Parr is also fond of collecting photo books created in the theme of everyday sketches close to him. He also curates exhibitions around the world and holds a professorship in photography. Martin also tried his hand at directing, produced some documentaries and created his own fund, which acts as an archive for the collection of works of photographers working in the British Isles.

Direction and style features
Photographs by Martin Parr are a reflection of everyday life in a sarcastic manner. All realities of life appear in Parr’s photographs in a grotesque and ugly form, for which the photographer has been criticized more than once by his colleagues and viewers, affected by his work. However, the Briton himself believes that self-irony is characteristic of his nation, and the townsfolk are not offended by the fact that photographic canvases paint by no means impartial pictures, the main participants of which are everyone who falls into the camera lens.

The works of Martin Parr criticize many phenomena of public life: mass tourism, the cult of consumerism, mercilessly ridicule the quirks of British society. Parr’s creations are a provocation, a merciless look at the things most familiar to us, passed through the prism of the photographer’s inner vision.

Parr’s main activity is street photography. He shoots on a small format camera at close range, using a flash even during the day. Therefore, the photos are juicy and contrasting. According to the photojournalist, he simply brought to the style of documentary the details inherent in the world of advertising and fashion: flashy colors and bright lighting of the object. The combination of a macro lens and flash produced the surreal images that would later become Martin Parr’s calling card.

Most Outstanding Works
Now Martin Parr and his photographs are known throughout the world. But the very first series of photographs that glorified his name, called “The Last Shelter”, caused extreme hostility from critics. It was a kind of photographic essay on middle-class recreation on the coast of New Brighton.

Contrary to the art trends of the time, Parr’s photographs did not look like an advertising booklet. They depicted a mass accumulation of bodies far from model standards, littered beaches, crowded canteens, ice cream-smeared children. Ugly and eccentric, but honestly capturing the zeitgeist, Martin Parr’s work has been called spiteful, humorless, and done with contempt. But now “The Last Resort” is included in the list of thousands of works of art “that everyone should see.”

Another scandal in British society was caused by the photo book “The Cost of Living”. This time, Parr focused on fixing the existence of the bourgeois class, which under Margaret Thatcher was becoming increasingly wealthy. The exhibition of photographs took place in the largest cities: Oxford, London, Bath and Paris. The essence that the photographer tried to convey to the viewer was that money does not make people happy. Many visitors, who recognized themselves in the photographs, expressed dissatisfaction and asked to remove the paintings from the exhibition.

In total, Martin Parr published about 40 books on various topics – food, self-portraits, pictures of lovers and old people. All of them bore the imprint of the author’s unique style – a ruthlessly torn veil that exposes reality due to a peculiar angle, a bright stroke, a raging madness of colors that cause rejection.