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March 22, 2013
by Martin Parr
Martin Parr is one of the most prolific image makers of our time. A notable photographer, Parr is also recognized internationally as a publisher, curator, supporter of young photographers and for an almost obsessive collecting habit.

Born in Surrey, UK in 1952 Martin Parr’s initial love of photography was encouraged by his grandfather who was himself a keen amateur. He studied at Manchester Polytechnic in the late 1970s and came to public attention just a year after graduating with an exhibition, ‘Home Sweet Home’ at two prominent galleries in England.
Parr often explores elements of tourism, consumerism, class and stereotypes in his work. Social groups, particularly the middle-classes, are a recurrent theme for Parr; a demographic that he himself identifies with. His style is one of most instantly recognizable approaches of twenty-first century photography; richly saturated colours that seem exaggerated and an unflinching, almost aggressive compositional structure. The result is a visual signature which conveys its subject matter with great success and more than just a degree of humour.

Often described as a ‘chronicler of our age’, Parr was a leading light in the New European Colour Photography School; a movement of photographers in the 1980s who united colour photography with documentary practice. In 1985 Parr used this technique in his celebrated portrayal of the dilapidated seaside town of New Brighton, popular with the working classes. The exhibition, ‘Last Resort’ opened with great acclaim at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1986 and toured the world. Since then, Parr has published over 66 books and 125 exhibitions.

Presented here at Katara Cultural Village are classic Martin Parr projects such as ‘Small World’, Parr’s satirical look at global tourism, alongside newer bodies of work such as ‘Luxury’, an insight into the world’s super rich. To celebrate the Qatar UK Year of Culture 2013, a wide selection of Parr’s work in the UK is on display; a visual exploration of the idiosyncrasies and uniqueness of British culture.

Today Parr occupies a rare and inimitable space within photography. A member of the ‘super-agency’ Magnum Photos since 1994, Parr sits unfamiliarly between traditional photojournalism and contemporary art based practices. He transcends multiple genres of photography, blurring boundaries between advertising and the art world, fashion and social documentary.

Presented in collaboration with Katara Cultural Village.

View exhibition images