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  1. #11
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    I think this is a classic case of reading far too much into a picture.

    Michael
    But if so, Michael, how do you explain Parr's stellar career?

    Regards,

    David

  2. #12

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    I started out actively disliking Martin Parr's work, because I perceived his stance as somewhat arrogant, and even cruel at times. Then I tried to have an open mind and looked at more of his work, which is something I try to do anyway with most photographers and artistis before coming to a final opinion. I began to see merit in his work and I liked some of it.

    But overall my opinion has not shifted from my first impressions, although I admire his use of colour, and the way he made certain subject-matter suitable for serious (albeit ironic) consideration.

    He is an ambiguous photographer - although he appears to have a democratic kind of approach to what a photograph is, he has been deemed 'successful' and is good at interviews and talking to young aspiring photographers, who generally seem to want to become him. He is definitely a self-confessed 'photographic artist' (trying to avoid that term 'fine artist' from another thread! It's different, anyway), rather than a documentary photographer in that his intent and yes, "ego" govern the work he comes up with, rather than, I think, the subjects and scenes, who sometimes become parodies of themselves (intentional, of course). The empathy bit that HC-B found lacking would not be paramount, but would take second place to his own artistic intentions.

    I think his work is O.K. and has been important in various ways - but I think it's way past time other photographers were given a share of the limelight. Not altogether his fault, of course.

    Cate

  3. #13
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    But if so, Michael, how do you explain Parr's stellar career?

    Regards,

    David
    I don't know. But I was commenting on this picture not his career.

    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #14
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    ... I began to see merit in his work and I liked some of it.
    ...
    Cate
    Would you care to amplify this? What merit do you see? It would interest me to learn this! Parr himself says that some people "get" his work, others just don't, which in a sense is a statement of the obvious! I perhaps can see some progression in his work away from the "Oh my dear! The squalor of the lower classes!" approach and more towards an almost affectionate documentation of human (particularly British) eccentricity. Posterity may end up regarding Parr in much the same light as some people see John Betjeman today!

    Regards,

    David

  5. #15
    Will S's Avatar
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    This thread reminds me of Walker Evans' work depicting the streets of New York and the southern U.S. But, I think that Evans' work is deeper than Parr's in a number of ways. Evans' use of irony, for example, is resonant and meaningful, while Parr's is (to me) more superficial. If I think of, for example, Evans's picture of the woman wearing stripes standing in the door of the barbershop; this picture reveals an ironic (even sardonic) attitude about the woman's dress and the gauche paintjob of the scene and could be linked to various themes about the decay of the south, the reluctance of the south to morph into the prevailing American culture of the time, etc.

    However, Evans manages to somehow (and I wish I knew how to do this myself) remove the subject itself (i.e. the woman and her position in the doorway) from the picture so that the combination of those elements form a complete and meaningful photographic whole. While I see irony in the Parr picture above similar to that in the Evans work, I don't perceive the same level of "desubjectification" necessary to transport the picture from snapshot to something more (and I'm not knocking snapshots here at all). I think Atget could be compared to Parr in a similar fashion as well.

    Best,

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  6. #16
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    The lenses and the round window on the rear building facade make an interesting triad - but overall I agree with Blansky that it's a snapshot.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    Would you care to amplify this? What merit do you see? It would interest me to learn this! Parr himself says that some people "get" his work, others just don't, which in a sense is a statement of the obvious! I perhaps can see some progression in his work away from the "Oh my dear! The squalor of the lower classes!" approach and more towards an almost affectionate documentation of human (particularly British) eccentricity. Posterity may end up regarding Parr in much the same light as some people see John Betjeman today!

    Regards,

    David
    Hmm ...now you put me on the spot, I suppose saying something has 'merit' could be damning with faint praise.

    I suppose I'm saying his work isn't awful, I have in the past enjoyed looking at it and thinking about it, to a degree, but.....I do have more criticisms in the end than anything else. I think too often he draws us into a kind of conspiracy, so that we are very much with him, observing, rather than identifying with his subjects. I'm thinking of the girl with the bubble-gum - it should be a fun picture, but it should be her fun & enjoyment, instead she is a little ridiculous and in danger of being laughed at. Or the little naked red-headed boy who may be in the act of peeing - he is vulnerable in too many ways...

    Martin Parr's pics were part of the Tender and True exhibition a while back, weren't they? They are as true, or not, as any other photographs, but to me they are not tender - unless meaning they hit a sore spot.

    Here's a link for the bubble-gum photo, I'll try and find the other later.
    http://www.buchcover.com/gallery/parr/01.jpg

    Cate
    Last edited by catem; 09-14-2006 at 02:37 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

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