Martin Parr takes satirical photos of everyday life. On the surface, his work can be humorous, scratch a little deeper and you will start to discover messages relating to life and society. Parr is much more than a Street Photographer, yet his work will usually fall tightly within this category. Magnum Photography accepted Parr as a member in 1988, and he made it by just one vote. He is now the group’s director. He has published too many books to mention, and I don’t yet own any. I feel another Amazon shop coming on!
Parr’s photos leave you giggling and and asking yourself questions at the same time. He has looked at tourism (the most eye-watering photos of Brits abroad), the working class, the wealthy, travel, food and much more. He makes the ordinary extraordinary. I fail to do justice to his work, just skip down to the end of this article and follow the links!
Parr is known for using flash photography, in particular, the use of a ring flash which provides an even spread of light. His use of flash helps saturate the colours and make them ‘pop’. Aligning with many Street Photographers, Parr employs the use of Wide Angle lenses. Also, he uses a medium format camera; it is hard to imagine how he creates his fantastic candid images with such large apparatus.
This post is not intended to provide tips on how to shoot like Parr. His technical ability is way above mine, and his eye is second to none. He is an inspiration and a reminder for me to concentrate on my current photography goal; employing flash into my workflow and, as always, training my eye.
Martin Parr uses some fairly advanced techniques, reminding us to stretch ourselves into areas outside our comfort zone. You’re a Street Photographer, so what? Go and focus on macro, or landscape, learn how to use a light meter, work on your skills learning flash.
When taking photos, look for a message. Strong themes run through Parr’s work, aligning with many of the most celebrated photographers. Stand-alone pictures may gather many ‘likes,’ but at the end of the day, what do you do with them? A set of themed photos can make an excellent gallery, or printed as a book.
So far, my ‘Inspirational Street Photographers’ posts have often looked at the fringes of society, or extreme locations. Parr finds a message in the everyday. Look for inspiration in your local cafe, or outside the Mall. There will be something; I guarantee you!
Please explore the links below!
Take Care and Keep Clicking, Chris