Parr: Pies, parties and pink drinks
November 2, 2008 3:08 AM   Subscribe

'From Gateshead pie shops to dog-grooming parlours in Brighton, take a tour of the UK with Magnum photographer Martin Parr'

Tate Shots. More of Parr talking about his work (1,2). Previously.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (7 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Where, oh where, are the pink drinks? I can't find them!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:55 AM on November 2, 2008

soundofsuburbia, I thought the same thing. "Posh" those ladies certainly were not.
posted by gene_machine at 5:22 AM on November 2, 2008

Cool thanks. I like his approach/philosophy
posted by stbalbach at 5:53 AM on November 2, 2008

Sorry, I'm assuming you saw the dead-tree version of yesterday's Guardian, in which this feature appeared containing pictures of "posh" ladies drinking cheap rose at Newcastle Races.
posted by gene_machine at 6:35 AM on November 2, 2008

I'm a big fan of Parr, but I think this work doesn't hold up next to his excellent book "Think of England". Last I was in New York, the Strand had good copies of that book for about $20. A couple months back, PDN published an interesting interview with Parr about his approach and his thoughts on photojournalism. In that he suggests that wealth and luxury is every bit as much the front line of photojournalism as war and poverty once was, and I think he's right; there's unfortunately very little documentary photography on the subject of wealth and luxury, unfortunately.

I can't find a link, but Henri Cartier-Bresson, the late elder statesman of photography, is said to have thrown some punches when Martin Parr was asked to join Magnum, the storied photojournalism/photography agency Cartier-Bresson helped found.
posted by msbrauer at 3:42 PM on November 2, 2008

Yes, I'm a huge fan of Parr's work, but I found these photographs a little disappointing. His best pictures are a mixture of affection and disgust, reflecting (imo) the ambivalent feelings that a lot of Britons have about their country. These pictures are much gentler; the affection is there, but not the disgust. (This one of students at King's College, Cambridge is interesting because it deliberately refrains from social commentary. It could easily have been used to make a sharp satiric point about upper-class privilege, but instead it's, well, just a bunch of young people on a lawn, and the caption points out that the majority of King's College students are from state schools.) It's as though Parr has got fed up with being labelled as a master of ironic wit, barbed social commentary, etc, and has deliberately set out to make these photographs as un-ironic, un-barbed, and straightforwardly documentary as possible. If so, I think it's a pity, because it doesn't fully play to his strengths, and there's a great deal in the Britain of 2008 that inspires disgust as well as affection.

Even so, Parr is a living national treasure, so thanks for posting this!
posted by verstegan at 11:43 PM on November 2, 2008

Wow....these are kinda lackluster compared to his other work. I'm not sure if he's using digital now or what, but the pictures don't pop out like they used to. They look more like tourist snapshots. Almost like he was just pointing the camera and hoping it would come out right.

It's too bad, because I'm a huge fan of his. He came to speak at my university a couple years ago and I'll never forget the impression he made on me. He was this hilarious self-deprecating guy who took some of the most memorable documentary shots I'd ever seen. The images popped off the screen and had a definite meaning. They mocked the subject while, at the same time, humanizing them. It's as if he was saying, "Yeah, these people are silly. But they have more in common with you and I than you might think."
posted by arishaun at 1:51 AM on November 3, 2008

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