For his first exhibition since joining the Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Martin Parr offers an overview of his entire body of work, from the end of the 1970s to the present day. For nearly fifty years, his photography has revealed a unique aesthetic and an instantly recognizable caustic humor that have left a lasting mark on visual culture. His sharp gaze on the vanities of the contemporary world has established itself as a major turning point in world photography.
If his first black and white series in the 1970s laid the foundations of his photography, elaborate compositions despite images taken on the spot, ironic vision of the communities around him, based on contrasts and discrepancies, it is not until 1986 that he rose to fame with the dazzling colors of The Last Resort. This biting portrait of the English working classes on vacation continued his fascination with the beach, which he pursued to punctuate his work until his most recent images. With Small World, in the early 1990s, he focused this time on mass tourism, which wonderfully embodied the new consumerism and the generalisation of globalised exchanges that are essential at the time.
Beyond holidays, Martin Parr meticulously dissects all aspects of our contemporary lifestyles. Small local shops, horse races, Sunday cricket matches: up to the photographs of village festivals taken in 2022, all his work transfigures the apparent banality of our lives, and makes each incongruous detail a micro-event that sets in motion the balance of the composition.
We must see here Parr’s desire to report on the world as it is, without filters, in all its absurdity, while constructing strong images that call for several levels of understanding. Through this typically English irony, humor and social criticism merge and testify to a singular work which, after nearly half a century, retains all its relevance.
Martin Parr was born in 1952 in Epsom, UK. As a child, his budding interest in photography was encouraged by his grandfather, himself an amateur photographer. He then studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic, from 1970 to 1973. Since then, Martin Parr has worked on numerous photographic projects. He left his mark on European visual culture, gradually establishing himself as a major international figure thanks to his innovative imagery and his oblique approach to social documentary.
In 1994, Parr became a full member of Magnum photos, which he chaired from 2013 to 2017. He is also interested in filmmaking and uses his photographs in various mediums, including fashion and advertising. . In 2002, the Barbican Art Gallery and the National Media Museum organized a major retrospective of the work of Martin Parr, which toured Europe for the next five years. In April 2017, Parr received the Sony World Photography Award for Outstanding Contribution to Photography. The Martin Parr Foundation opened in Bristol the same year.
In his series, Martin Parr questions in turn the absurd banality of our daily lives, the vanity of contemporary consumer societies and the multiplication of flows and exchanges in a globalized world. His work is based on a recognizable visual style: his boldly composed, brightly colored flash-lit photographs are instantly recognizable. Today, Martin Parr’s images circulate throughout the world and testify to a desire to report on the world as it is, without filters, while mixing humor and social criticism through this typically English irony.
February 2 – May 6, 2023
Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière
51, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, 75004 Paris
Tél. : 01 42 38 88 85 / 06 50 06 98 68
It took thirty years for Martin Parr’s work at Chew Stoke to be published. Through tasty images of the daily life of an English village, we discover one of his most remarkable colorful color series, hitherto unknown. Sunday meals, cricket matches, evenings at the pub: not without irony, the whole English spirit is celebrated through the lens of the legendary British photographer.
Photographs by Martin Parr
Texts by Robert Chesshyre & Diane Smyth
This book is published in French by Maison CF.
Available on the www.maisoncf.fr website and in bookstores