Magnum Photos Photographer Profile
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Peter Marlow
British, b. 1952, d. 2016
I go for photography that overlays and enhances. By blending observation and wit with reason, I want my work to generate a sense of the unexpected, the hidden, and the seemingly spontaneous. ”
Biography
Although gifted in the language of photojournalism, Peter Marlow was not a photojournalist. He was initially, however, one of the most enterprising and successful young British news photographers, and in 1976 joined the Sygma agency in Paris. He soon found that he lacked the necessary appetite for the job while on assignment in Lebanon and Northern Ireland during the late 1970s; he discovered that the stereotype of the concerned photojournalist disguised the disheartening reality of dog-eat-dog competition between photographers hunting fame at all costs.

Since those days, Marlow's aesthetic had shifted - in that he made mainly color photographs - but his approach was unchanged. The color of incidental things became central to his pictures in the same way that the shape and mark of things had been central to his black-and-white work.

Marlow had come full circle. He started his career as an international photojournalist, returned to Britain to examine his own experience, and discovered a new visual poetry that enabled him to understand his homeland. Having found this poetry, he took it back on the road: he photographed as much in Japan, the USA and elsewhere in Europe as he did in the UK.