Biography

Martin Parr was born in a middle class family in Epsom, Surrey, Britain, in 1952. Parr’s vision of to become a photographer is inspired by his grandfather George Parr. At the age of fourteen, Parr already knew that he wanted to be a photographer and so in later years he went to Manchester Polytechnic to study Photography. In his last year of college, he created the installation “Home Sweet Home”. Parr’s early works in 1970s are solely black and white photography, but after 1980 he switched to color film and continued his focus in color photography. His inspiration for color photography was originated from the American photodocumentarists William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and John Hinde’s postcards. In 1994, Martin Parr became a member of Magnum Photographic Corporation and his current projects include film-making and photographing for advertisement.

His equipment
Until mid 1990s, Parr’s pictures were taken using 6 x 7 cm camera and daylight flash. Wide-angle format are often used to capture complex groups and social interactions. Later, Parr switched to a Nikon 35 mm camera, with macro lens to do close-up shots. For lighting and color, Parr uses ring flash to eliminate shadow from his subjects and the use of slow film gives a great intensity to his pictures.

His influence
Parr sees himself as a perfect middle-class pedigree. Living and surrounded by a middle class environment since childhood, it’s natural for Parr to turn his camera on the middle class consumers because he too is a middle-class consumer. Martin Parr’s photos often exaggerate and reveal that we are living in a problematic world. Consumerism and propaganda are reoccurring themes in Parr’s work. His photos often illustrate signs of globalization, the problems of wealth and the society’s consumption habits. Aside from editorial projects, Parr also photograph for commerce. He has done some fashion shots for New York Times and also some other advertisement. In an interview, Parr honestly points out that the only reason why he’d do the commercial shots was because of the money. For Parr sees no difference between artistic and editorial projects, Parr allows pictures made for other purposes to be reused in commercial settings. For doing so, he has received severe criticism. He was accused of being a “gratuitously cruel

social critic who has made large amounts of money by sneering at the foibles and pretensions of other people.”

Bibliography http://www.bbc.co.uk/blast/film/peoplein/martin_parr.shtml http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/cruelandtender/parr.html http://www.uklandscape.net/features/MartinParr.html http://www.martinparr.com/index1.html Poynor, Rick. Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World. August/Birkhauser. 2001. http://www.lensculture.com/parr.html# William, Val. Martin Parr. Phaidon Press. London. 2002. Think of England. Phaidon Press. London. 2000.

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