Martin Parr, Photographer

 Illustration by  Jeffrey Phillips

Illustration by Jeffrey Phillips

 

Martin Parr (England, b. 1952) is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist, and photo book collector. He has been a member of Magnum Photos and has around 40 solo photo books published, and featured in 80 exhibitions worldwide. Parr's projects take an intimate, satirical look at modern life, specifically documenting the social classes of England and the Western world.

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In Flagrante,
by Chris Killip

"It's probably one of the most important post-war British photography books. Published in the '80s. He lived in the north of England, so it's very much sort of an antidote to everything being fine and all right. Often overlapping with the Thatcher period. Shot on medium to large format. It's just a wonderful edit. Every picture counts. Some of the rare moments where, during the week pitch and everything comes together very well. I knew Chris before anyway. Before the book was out. I'd seen him do things like mixed flash with daylight, which is something that I was inspired by as well. So, yes. I think that was part of my influence. Also just the care that he took in creating these pictures and making it work as a sequence. As a book."

 

Bye Bye Photography,
by Daidō Moriyama

"This is very radical because it came out in '72. It was really about tearing up all the previous ideas about photography, and reinventing it. So it was a manifesto as much as a book. So there's dust on it. There's sprocket holes. It's completely an archaic book. I remember first looking through it when I discovered it in the '80s, late '80s in Japan and being amazed. How good it was. Of course, Daido, at that point, wasn't really known in the West. Now he is very much known. So, it was really like a great discovery for me. It has this energy to it. Which is revolutionary, if you'd like. Very radical. So, in that sense, yes. I mean, what's not to like? What's interesting is if you look at the work that he was ultimately rejecting, which were people more like Shomai Tomatsu, when you look at these now, they're pretty radical too. So it's interesting that what he was rejecting could be argued to be quite radical. But he became even more radical."

 

The Americans,
by Robert Frank

"This is the first photo book that I really bought. Way back in the early '70s. Maybe '69, something like that. It's really a masterpiece of eloquence and interpretation. Where the mood of the America, contemporary America, was brought across so effectively. So when I was learning photography it was very impressive work to me. I first came across it in Creative Camera Making. Then I went out and bought my own copy. All those pictures now, are still ingrained in my head. My consciousness. There's not a picture from there I wouldn't recognize. As with many other people. You're not exactly going to be throwing your readers off-kilter because it's so well-known."