Saturday, 10 January 2015

Martin Parr – “hypocrisy and prejudice”

In this video Parr talks about his work and confesses to a measure of “hypocrisy and prejudice” in that, as a successful, and middle class, artist he has effectively become part of that part of society which he believes his photos critique. He is very honest about his background, and the way it shaped his motivations for taking photographs and by extension the outcomes. He makes no pretence at seeking to encourage social change, preferring instead to let his images largely speak for themselves.

That Parr can be successful on this basis says much about the change in attitudes to documentary that his work in some measure encouraged.Gone is the pretence of objectivity – the subjective viewpoint of the photographer is fully foregrounded. This inevitably affects the reading of the photos – they no longer look like a campaign – they are a documentary of the ordinary. In some ways I think they do for British photography what Frank did for American photography – they show that ordinary is a legitimate subject and not something we should shy away from.

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