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Martin Parr Biography

Born in 1952, Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer. He studies modern society through a satirical lens, focussing particularly on the British class system and the wealth of the West.

Inspired by American photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz and William Eggleston, who were pioneers in colour photography, Parr was one of the first to experiment with colour, as previously most artists worked in monochrome.
In 1982, Parr broke new ground in British documentary photography with The Last Resort, a series of photographs that capture working class families holidaying in New Brighton, Liverpool. They feature overcrowded beaches, beauty competitions and video arcades.

Following this, in 1989, Parr exhibited The Cost of Living, which explored the lives of the middle class under Thatcherism. The images capture the essence of the prosperous new middle class, going about their day to day activities such as shopping, going to garden parties, and attending community events.
Parr continued to study anthropological aspects of modern life, in his satire Small World, which observes mass tourism and the banal search for ‘authentic’ cultural experience.

Alongside his fearlessly comical photography, Martin Parr works as a curator, photobook collector and a producer of television documentaries. He has also worked as a professor of photography at both the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and the University of Wales.

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