on May 24th at 7.45pm at MK2 Quai de Loire (7, quai de Loire 75019 Paris)
Photographs of everyday meals and snacks in fast food restaurants, greasy spoons, street stalls and barbecues are brought together in British photographer Martin Parr’s Real Food. Published on 4 April, the book comprises the very best of Parr’s iconic food shots. It includes over 200 photographs and pans 25 years, from Parr’s celebrated documentation of British eating habits in the 1990s to a selection of new work from his international travels.
Martin Parr has chronicled modern life since the 1960s, encouraging us to re-examine the familiar.
Real Food presents a global snapshot of everyday cuisine showing Parr’s fascination with food as a way to explore a nation’s identity. From hot dogs and sticky buns to chips in gravy and roast dinners, the book features photographs taken throughout his prolific career in over 30 locations across the world, including Australia, Japan, Spain, Mexico, the UK and the USA.
At a time when chefs around the world are emphasising the seasonal and local, Parr celebrates the opposite. Refined and processed foods are captured in close-up and in distinctive bright colours, the antithesis to the proliferation of highly stylised Instagram shots of flawless dishes. The social aspect of food is at the heart of Parr’s photographs and a strong sense of place is evoked, with images of a stars and stripes-adorned pie in New York, a plate of custard creams on a picnic blanket in Dorset and tins of Spam covered in fake cherry blossom in Tokyo. The book’s wipe clean cover is inspired by the gingham tablecloths often seen in local cafes the world over.
An introductory essay by Fergus Henderson, British chef and founder of St. John restaurants in London, considers Parr’s photographs in the context of global cuisine. He contrasts the world of Parr’s real food, ‘that of the naughty seaside postcard’, with his own menu: ‘a nose-to-tail lunch at St. John does not shy away from the nature of meat, but in these pages, meat is depicted mainly in the safe processed form of the sausage’.
The work of Martin Parr (b.1952) bridges the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world have placed him at the forefront of contemporary art. Parr’s first photo essay was taken in Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop in Guisely near Leeds in the 1960s, sparking an interest in photographing food which he has revisited throughout his career.