Magnum Photos, in partnership with the Anonymous Project, presents a new exhibition at its Paris Gallery based on the book, Déjà View, by Martin Parr and Lee Shulman, published by Textuel in 2021.
A playful conversation between two important photographic archives, the book — and now the exhibition — consists of pairs. For each work by Martin Parr, there is a paired image from the Anonymous Project’s collection of found amateur photographs, taken between the 1950s and 80s.
The pairings are set in diverse settings and situations from across Europe and America. Featuring holidays, celebrations and people from all walks of life, the photographs represent some of Parr’s most iconic works in dialogue with vernacular photography at its finest, captured in different locations and eras, but often bearing striking, or whimsical, similarities.
Martin Parr’s archive of 50,000 photographs captures stereotypes and society with an unmistakable eye for the quirks of ordinary life. “It’s very difficult to take a good photograph of ordinary, everyday life. That’s what I like to try and do, it’s what motivates me to get out and about with my camera. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a good picture, but there’s always a chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Parr explained in an interview about Déjà View. “The book is pure, simple and direct. For me, it’s everything I love most.”
The Anonymous Project was founded in 2017 by film director and artist Lee Shulman to gather and conserve color slides taken by amateur photographers around the world from the late 1930s to the mid-1980s. The collection now comprises over 800,000 Kodachrome slides. “Our combined pictures speak to what photography is and what it can contribute: a simple, happy moment, shared. This book is full of optimism, humour, love and humanity.” Shulman said in the same interview, with Parr and Dimitri Beck, Director of Photography at Polka.
“It is quite exciting to be inviting a non-Magnum voice into the gallery for the first time, and this collaboration merits being the first of many,” Samantha McCoy, Paris Gallery Director, says. “It champions the great work of Martin Parr, while bringing attention to the skills of the ‘unknown photographer,’ and asking us to question what makes a great photograph – a thought-provoking and relevant question. Of course, it also contextualizes and sheds light on Martin Parr’s vocabulary, one of the great photographers of our time.”
Martin Parr is one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation. With over 100 books of his own published, and another 30 edited by Parr, his photographic legacy is already established. Parr also acts as a curator and editor. He has curated two photography festivals, Arles in 2004 and Brighton Biennial in 2010. More recently, Parr curated the Barbican exhibition, Strange and Familiar. Parr has been a member of the Magnum photos agency since 1994 and was President from 2013–2017. In 2013, Parr was appointed visiting professor of photography at the University of Ulster. Parr’s work has been collected by many of the leading museums, from the Tate, the Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Martin Parr established the Martin Parr Foundation in 2017. In 2019 the National Portrait Gallery in London held a major exhibition of Parr’s work titled Only Human.
Born in London, UK, Lee Shulman is a graduate of the University of Westminster with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is a multiple award-winning film director and artist working in advertising and music videos. Now living and working in Paris he founded The Anonymous Project as an arts project in 2017 which has gone on to become one of the most important and unique collections of amateur photography slides in the world, His first book Mid-Century Memories edited by Taschen was named The Times Photography Book of the year.
His last book Déjà View which pairs his work alongside the work of photographer Martin Parr came out at the end of last year to critical acclaim and will be the subject of various exhibitions. The exhibition The House was one of the highlights at the Photography Festival in Arles in 2019. Since then his work has been exhibited widely and internationally and he is currently represented in France by Polka Gallery.
The Magnum Gallery
The Magnum Gallery represents all generations of Magnum photographers and estates, honoring the legacy of its 75-year-old archive whilst nurturing the careers of the co-operative’s younger generation of photographers. Operating in both Paris and London, The Magnum Gallery has a robust online and offline exhibition program and works with institutions, seasoned collectors, as well as amateurs in the art world, aiming at a wide public engagement for art.
The Magnum Gallery is also present at leading art and photography fairs around the world.
Find the Magnum Gallery at 68 rue Léon Frot, 75001, Paris and 63 Gee Street, EC1V 3RS, London, or find out more at magnumphotos.com/shop/gallery.
Martin Parr & The Anonymous Project : Déjà View
September 22 – December 22, 2022
68, rue Léon Frot, 75011 Paris, France
Paris Gallery Hours:
Tuesday–Friday: 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM–7:00 PM