Exercise : Martin Parr territory

Read the document ‘Martin Parr : Photographic Works 1971-2000‘ by the National Museum of Photography , Film and Television . Core resources :Parr pdf.

Watch an audio slide show of Martin Parr talking about his progression from B&W to colour photography and The Last Resort .In this video Martin Parr acknowledges what he calls ” hypocrisy and prejudice” in his work. What do you think about this statement ? Write a short reflective commentary in your blog.

I have been to two Parr exhibitions this year –notes  here & here

Parr had a conventional middle class upbringing . His interest in photography was fuelled by his grandfather, a keen amateur photographer , who took him on day trips to run-down Northern seaside towns. A contemporary of Daniel Meadows , and influenced by the British photographer Tony Ray-Jones , Parr became fascinated with the erosion of traditional British society , class and consumerism. He began to photography exclusively in colour in 1982.

The Last Resort 1983-6

Parr’s images of the working classes enjoying their leisure time in the declining resort of New Brighton seem , on first viewing , judgemental . The litter strewn and run down area is populated by families holidaying against a backdrop of deprivation. Whist junk food addicted holidaymakers epitomise how the working class are perhaps frequently perceived by those of a different social class. Yet despite the photographs being funny , surreal and undeniable cruel they have a strange poignancy about them.”The Last Resort is a depressing series of images , and they depict the British working class in an unforgiving light. But , there is a profound sense of sadness in this series ” ( Parr pdf. p.g 7 ) . Using flash and highly saturated colour the brash images contradict the confident self- assertiveness perception of Thatcher’s Britain but document instead ” a supposedly affluent society falling apart at the seams” (Parr pdf. p.g 7 ) .

Parr’s method of working to produce an acerbic comment on society has become his hallmark yet he considers his work both hypocritical and prejudiced . Parr , influenced by middle-class mores , undoubtably has pre-conceived ideas regarding class status , it is impossible to work in a moral vacuum. He willingly admits his work objectifies the people he documents hence making them objects of consumerism , the very thing he is criticising.

References / Bibliography

Martin Parr : Photographic Works 1971-2000′ by the National Museum of Photography , Film and Television . Core resources :Parr pdf.

Accessed 13/8/15

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