The acute observation, wit and colour of Martin Parr’s work since the mid-1980s has established him as one of the most successful and popular contemporary photographers and a leading member of the prestigious Magnum agency. The only comprehensive monograph of Martin Parr’s entire career to date, this second edition has been updated with completely new photographs and three new chapters assessing his most recent photographic work, as well as his expansion into the fields of curating, collecting and editing.
Beginning with Martin Parr’s early black and white work, and moving through the development into his signature colour-saturated photographs, this newly updated monograph provides a complete overview of the acclaimed Magnum photographer’s career to date. By placing the everyday at centre stage, Parr is best known for his sharp and witty visual chronicling of British (and later, global) idiosyncrasies. Parr’s photographs have received popular acclaim, provoked controversy, and been applauded for their critical observations of the world we have built and inhabit.
Val Williams charts Parr’s development as a photographer, from his early inspirations and outings with his grandfather, through his student days in Manchester and experimentation with documentary and art photography, to his sharply critical observations of the effects on global consumerism on our daily lives. Williams assesses contemporary reactions to his work as well as the social contexts in which the photographs were made. While she worked in close collaboration with Parr, having full access to his archives and based on extensive interviews with him, she retains a critical distance with which to evaluate his work and his public persona as a ‘controversial’ photographer.
Each illustrated chapter text is followed by an extensive section of spreads of his work. The book also offers a holistic view of his practice – with sections on his publications and collections of souvenirs and ephemera that have continued to inform his photographic practice.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
The work of Martin Parr bridges the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world, his innovative imagery and his prolific output have placed him firmly at the forefront of contemporary art. A member of the international photo agency Magnum, Parr is an avid collector of books and a world authority on the photobook.
Val Williams is a well-respected writer and curator based in London. She is contributing editor of Creative Camera magazine and has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph Magazine and the New Statesman, among many others.