Monday, May 07, 2007

Martin Parr redux

I mentioned Martin Parr the other day.

Joerg has an interesting interview with him over on Conscientious about a show he's curating on "Colour before colour - 1970's European Color Photography" .

BTW, I first came across Parr's work in the early 80's in NE England at the fantastic Side Gallery in Newcastle - by far the best photography gallery in the UK (along with
Chris Killip, John Davies, Graham Smith and Paul Graham - part of what became known as the British Photographers of the Thatcher Years). Parr's colour may seem rather everyday now, but back then it was like a beacon and really in-your-face - quite amazing, and certainly for me opened up a new way of looking at colour, as well a of photographing the everyday around me.

In fact I remember picking up the 1986 copy of the Pop Photography Annual (those things were actually really good back then) in Newcastle Station and reading it on the train back to Durham. Among others it had portfolios by Martin Parr, Chris Killip and Fay Godwin - it was like Holy Crap - by the time I got off the train I had a whole new take on photography.

There's also another MP3 (44mb) interview with Parr here I just came across, which is quite extensive and interesting in places, such as where he talks about Bruce Davidson losing a job to someone on Flickr (which he feels is a good thing):

“…within five years flickr will emerge as one of the major sources for licensing imagery… the other point about flickr, is I can’t tell you how bad the most of the pictures are. I mean, we see this in the site up there (at Musee de L’Elysee) the noise of this contemporary photography is relentless and ultimately, nullifyingly boring… we have this amazing interest, resurgence in photography, a renaissance, but boy do we have to wade through a lot of rubbish in order to get to anything half-decent.”

Some podcasts and such can be really blah - this is actually very worthwhile listening to and covers a lot of ground (also makes you realise that the likes of APUG and even the LF Photography List pretty much exist in their own time warp...)

He also talks about the evolution of photography, vernacular images, thinking about your photography and the strangeness of using film on a recent project in Dubai. (Where he also came across a hoard of Saddam Hussein pottery...:

"...Just before I left I was taken to a small souk in Sharjah where they actually sell things old, not an easy thing to locate in Dubai. There, to my amazement, was a fantastic selection of Saddam Hussein plates, vases and ornaments. For those of you who do not know, I have a big collection of Saddam Hussein ephemera and in 2004 published a book with 50 different Saddam Hussein watches in.

So I returned, rather pleased with myself, with a huge bag full of Saddam pottery. I was glad I was not stopped at Heathrow, not that bringing this stuff in is illegal, but it would have been tricky to explain to a customs officer." )
I still think Parr is good (I've always liked the fond description of him by another Brit photographer - that he's a "bit of an anorak"...). And his influence as an editor and curator is equalling that of his pictures - which in itself is significant. I'm going to have to get around to doing something a bit more in depth about Parr sometimes.

(John Davies)

2 comments: said...

nice blog

Joe Reifer said...

One of my favorite Parr books is one that he edited -- "Our True Intent Is All for Your Delight." Fantastic stuff. - JR