Talk:Martin Parr

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WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 23:33, 27 August 2007 (UTC)


Tagged for cleanup. This article reads like something out of the back cover of a book, not an encyclopedia. Aep (talk) 02:12, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

New external link[edit]

I have added a link to a short video in which the artist talks about his practice as it has developed since the 1970s. It includes a variety of Parr's photographs. T.Broch (talk) 15:48, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


Did Badger actually write: It is difficult from a perspective of almost a quarter of a century to underestimate the significance of The Last Resort, either in British photography or Martin Parr's career? Surely he meant "overestimate". If he really did write "underestimate" (and if this got through Dewi Lewis's production process and into print), then this should be flagged with a giant, flashing "[sic]". Because if he really meant "underestimate", then the significance of the book would surely be infinitesimal, which strikes me as an extraordinarily harsh judgment. -- Hoary (talk) 00:16, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Good catch Hoary. It certainly _does_ say that in my edition of the book (revised edition, 2009). And in the first sentence of the book too! There's plenty of discussion around about people making this too-common mistake, so it should be on the copy editor's mind to look out for. Lopifalko (talk) 10:08, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I just telephoned Dewi Lewis and he says he remembers speaking to Gerry at the time about this. He said what Gerry's saying is that you can't grasp how insignificant this book was at the time 25 years ago, with Martin unknown, releasing it self published. He's speaking about at the time, rather than of now. It seems obvious, now that I know that, re-reading it. It could be useful for us to have It is difficult from a perspective of almost a quarter of a century to underestimate the significance [at the time] of The Last Resort, either in British photography or Martin Parr's career. Lopifalko (talk) 10:21, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh, come on, it doesn't mean this. If this were indeed what he'd wanted to say, it might have been worded something like It is difficult from a perspective of almost a quarter of a century to underestimate the significance perceived at the time of The Last Resort, either in British photography or Martin Parr's career. And would this be true? I'm no expert, but it doesn't start to square with what I remember reading about the matter. Certainly it's hard to square with this comment from Arts Review in 1986: The Last Resort presents a harsh, cynically depressing picture ... Parr's bitter insight merely records the humiliating and regrettable surrender of many people in Mrs Thatcher's Britain to circumstances which they have unwittingly conspired to create and which are now thought to be beyond their control (quoted in Mellor, No such thing as society, p.131, n.81). My chum Mr Occam suggests that GB was confused and that nobody at DL noticed this. Well, I don't blame them: schedules were tight, people were overworked. ¶ My regards to DL (the man); I enjoy his books. Not least his book, Publishing Photography (Cornerhouse, 1992), which surely merits a second, extensively revised edition. -- Hoary (talk) 13:39, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

"Retrospectives, private publications, very limited publications"[edit]

Under this title, the article until just now listed what looked like a book by Parr but is actually a pair of books by Parr and Vikšraitis. Why? Because (it said) the edition was ("very"?) limited to 700. I have the pair in front of me and neither has a colophon that says anything about the size of the edition. I'm willing to believe that this was 700, but 700 is a pretty humdrum edition size where I am (Japan, whose population is very much larger than Lithuania's).

The section also says (after markup-stripping):

  • Boring Photographs. 2000. (Photographs of Boring, Oregon: not postcards. Edition limited to 12 signed copies.)
  • Flowers. Munkedals: Munken & Trebruk, 1999 (edition of 2,500). Paris: Galerie Agnès B./Gallery du Jour, 2001.

I've never seen either of these. If what's said here is correct, the first really is a small edition, the second came in an edition distinctly larger than the average here (once we discount photobooks of kittens, puppies, pop singers, girls in bikinis, and girls not in bikinis).

I suggest doing away with this section and moving each item within it elsewhere. -- Hoary (talk) 13:54, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Of those that I added I found their details on Parr's site at [1] and [2] which is pleasingly thorough. I hear that 1,000 - 1,500 are normal print run sizes for photobooks, and that they aren't considered limited unless below 1,000, so I wouldn't consider 700 to be "very limited". I consider it worth separating out retrospectives from other books as they distinctly differ from other monographs. I thought it worth listing private publications separately in this section to differentiate them from works that aren't generally available to the public, as they seem to be a breed unto themselves, but am happy to take your lead on this. I think the very limited publications are so very rare as to be negligible and I would happily see them removed since you raised the matter. -Lopifalko (talk)
I don't have any very simple solution in mind, but I'm not advocating the deletion of any information. Even an edition of 12 can be worth mentioning. -- Hoary (talk) 14:58, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I had misunderstood what you said about the Parr and Vikšraitis books. Thanks for moving that out into 'Books with others'. Parr's site says of Flowers that "This is the original, very rare, limited edition (limited to 2,500 copies) published by the Swedish paper company Munken to showcase its new product: the 170gsm Munken Lynx. The book was not offered for sale and was only distributed to those in the printing and design professions.". It seems to me it can hardly be said to be "rare" if the print run is more than double that of most photobooks; but as you see it is a private publication. Perhaps my wording is confusing and should instead say 'Retrospectives, private publications, and very limited publications', which is what was originally meant. It is a bit of a catch-all to bring together books that didn't fit into other categories. -Lopifalko (talk)
Parr's so active (and acquisitive!) that he must surely have assistants. My guess is that the blurb about the Flowers book was written by some hurried intern. Or just possibly somebody was gently taking the piss of "collectibility" sales talk. ¶ A problem with segregating the seriously limited (shall we say "stunted"?) from the rest is what to do with "collectors' editions" of the regular books -- you know, those with an extra print or two, a fancy case, and perhaps some other goody, but where 80%+ by weight or volume (if not price) is the same as the version for us plebs. My own gut feeling is that this simply isn't encyclopedic: if a photographer wants to sell such packages and people want to buy them, then congratulations to all involved, but the great majority of us, who aren't involved, need pay no attention. -- Hoary (talk) 14:06, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad you raised this as I had been planning to ask you about these, whether to include them throughout Wikipedia or not. For example, TBW books with its versions of A Period of Juvenile Prosperity have Limited Edition Slipcase + Book (signed) edition of 225, Limited Edition Slipcase + Book (signed) + print (signed) edition of 75, and Limited Edition Custom Box (unique) + Book (signed) + mounted print (signed) edition of 20 + 5 AP's. My guess is that Paul Schiek of TBW Books said to Brodie something like "Kid, I know you shun the art market from the marrow of your bones, but we can make thousands of easy Dollars if we get someone to make us up a few alternate versions that we sell to knee-kerk collectors, which will pay for the highest quality scanning and post-production of your poorly exposed negatives, which will make this whole thing that much more presentable and possible for the middle class majority who will buy the regular editions". My self that is obsessed with completeness and exactness wants all these editions to be included so readers can see the whole picture, but the pragmatist in me wants to see a more simple and readable Wikipedia. (In this particular example, the decision of whether or not to include them is made more complex by the fact Twin Palms published the regular version of APOJP, with TBW producing only these exclusive versions). Let's not include them because they're not encyclopaedic. -Lopifalko (talk)
Yes, those truly were exclusive editions. Among the many people excluded was me. Today I happened to notice in a used bookshop a book whose front cover had an arresting photo and two orange letters, "XM". Intrigued, I picked it up and looked inside. It's a twenty-year-old exhibition catalogue, on the work of Xavier Miserachs (a new name to me). A snip at under €4. And not just better bang for the piastre than a lot of famous photobooks, but (price aside) arguably better content too. ¶ Well, I slept on the issue of exclusive editions in clamshell cases (etc), and awoke to discover that I'd had a slight change of mind. I'm now slightly inclined to add mention of them, for their comedy value. Still thinking though. -- Hoary (talk) 14:10, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
That was a fortunate find. I've been looking at his work via Google Image Search and it looks good. There don't appear to be many different books of his on the second-hand market. I shall likely get myself the overly small looking Photobolsillo book for under £10. This is really doing it for me today: 'On Not Answering the Question: What Makes a Good Photograph?' by Sean O'Hagan, PhotoWorks Ideas Series. -Lopifalko (talk)

(smart.) Reduce to the Max[edit]

The company that produced the Smart car had Parr do most of the photography for a book titled smart. Reduce to the Max or perhaps just Reduce to the Max. If I understand correctly, this wasn't conventionally published but instead was given to buyers of the car, or made available, or both. There's evidence (possibly mistaken) of a Dutch-language edition. If this book has text, presumably it either exists in different versions or is multilingual. The illustrations of copies in show a variety of covers. (These illustrations aren't always reliable.) The book remains a bit of a mystery. Copies are cheap, but not yet so very cheap that I'm tempted to buy a copy merely to satisfy my curiosity. Any informed input? -- Hoary (talk) 00:46, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Unsere Umgangsformen die Welt der guten Sitten von A - Z[edit]

Unsere Umgangsformen die Welt der guten Sitten von A - Z (OCLC 722821372, ISBN 3806875790) has photos by Erwitt and Parr. Many or just a few? I don't know. There are other editions of the book, which may or may not also have these photos. The book corresponds to Noblesse oblige: le nostre buone maniere dalla A alla Z (OCLC 801120344, ISBN 8804496177) (it's not clear which is a translation of the other; guesswork suggests that each version has the original of one writer's material and a translation of the other's); the Italian book may or may not also have the photos. Any informed input? -- Hoary (talk) 00:50, 2 April 2014 (UTC)


Perhaps we need a Postcards section, we don't have these:

Er well, um, I suppose so, yes. Without noticing your message above, I'd semi-misunderstood the former item and misplaced it in the article. I'll attend to fixing it a bit later.
Rob Hornstra, Chris Killip and Shunji Dodo are among other photographers who've put out postcard sets. -- Hoary (talk) 11:13, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
People are practically giving away Royal Jubilee Postcards through Amazon. I was recently reading about Bill Dane too. Perhaps we could add a section to the postcard article on photographers producing their own. It might be worth adding 'Category:Postcards' in a few of these places too. -Lopifalko (talk)
Or 'Category:Postcard publishers'. Do you think we should swap Parr's 'Category:Postcards' with 'Category:Postcard publishers'? Or would it in this case be appropriate to include both, as he has a relationship with postcards, and is a publisher of them? -Lopifalko (talk)
Bill Dane, yes -- I knew of his photos, but I didn't know (or had forgotten) about the postcards. Wikipedia tells me that he is a North American street photographer best known for pioneering a way to subsidize his public by using photographic postcards. I haven't a clue why photographers would need to subsidize their publics, but maybe other readers will.
There was some bloke called Stephen Shore too, I think.
Yes, "Category:Postcards" is a poor choice. He's a notable postcard collector (as is Tom Phillips). Now, "publisher" is a tricky word: WP has both Category:British publishers (people) and Category:Publishing companies of the United Kingdom, but not "Category:British publishers (people who've had their own books published)". No offence to the man, but is the publication of his postcards of much significance? He's a popular photographer (if perhaps not at this level); popular photographers (Erwitt, Doisneau, etc) have photos issued as postcard sets, but few people pay much attention to this.
Collecting aside, what is interesting is that Parr has had published photos that (I think) haven't previously appeared in books. -- Hoary (talk) 13:22, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

L.P. Polhuis[edit]

  • Het L.P. Polhuis archief: een gewoon familie-album = The L.P. Polhuis archive: An ordinary family album. Rotterdam: Nederlands Fotomuseum, [2004]. ISBN 9085460050.

turns up in searches for our man's ever-expanding œuvre, but I believe that he only contributes a preface. -- Hoary (talk) 03:15, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

The Big Issue[edit]

"ever-expanding œuvre" indeed. I'm wondering if 'The Big Issue: On the Ring Road. The Big Issue 451, 20–26 August 2001' is merely a contribution of an article to a weekly national newspaper and thus has no place in the Publications section? In contrast to Tony Ray-Jones#Commissioned magazine work I don't propose we include this kind of work for Parr unless it is a significant contribution. -Lopifalko (talk)

OCLC 500941730 describes it as Special photo edition of The Big Issue, by Martin Parr. This is all I know. -- Hoary (talk) 13:19, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Open Mic[edit]

I haven't seen Ewen Spencer's Open Mic (ISBN 0955084008); but read that it has two introductions, one of them by Parr. -- Hoary (talk) 12:21, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes, and it is a good one too, thanks for the reminder as there is useful material for the Ewen Spencer article here too:

"Ewen Spencer has already established his reputation, in recent years, as a photographer of much talent with his work on youth culture, but now he turns his attention to the 'grime' music scene in London. I hadn't even heard of this scene, let alone known anything about it, but have discovered that it emerged out of UK garage and is a kind of equivalent of US hip hop.

This is where Spencer's quality as a photographer really begins to work. He has thrown himself into this whole scene with such enthusiasm and dedication that he has won over the confidence of the key players on the grime circuit. This demonstrates how the potential magic of contemporary photography begins to operate. Because Spencer's photography is so compelling, the viewer begins to understand what attracted him in the first place.

We do not need to learn about the facts of grime, like how many venues there are or the number of grime fans. This scene is about energy. That's why it is important as a voice of expression and protest for the black youth of London. Ewen Spencer's photographs are also about energy, making visual sense of the wonderful anarchy of grime. Spencer brings the same raw passion to his photographs; I think those who view them benefit from this engagement.

Martin Parr 2005"

-Lopifalko (talk)

Stupid question, maybe, but do you have a copy of the book? I see that it's only a tenner, but there are lots of other books that I want and space is limited. -- Hoary (talk) 13:09, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I do and have re-read it for you today. I think it worth owning. One powerful aspect of his photography here is that if, like me, you want to witness these places but are denied easy access to them through your age and culture, then this gives you some visual access. I think it ideally needs a broader variety of images, but then it is only a slim volume (34 images) and so it doesn't become monotonous. It is good that it doesn't hang a whole essay on just one or two impeccable images, but then the best images are the same situation repeated at different times and places, which may be due to the grime scene being based on a few and rudimentary aspects - a rapper with a mic. I am a fan of his garage and grime photos, Open Mic and UKG, but haven't found much of interest in the rest of his work. -Lopifalko (talk)
Yes, I guessed that you had it, but thought that perhaps you had instead got the quotation from somewhere on the web, or from promotional email or similar. I'll try to remember the titles. Incidentally, Don't call me urban: The time of grime (Simon Wheatley) also has a good reputation. -- Hoary (talk) 23:51, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Paris, New York, Shanghai[edit]

Paris, New York, Shanghai: A book about the past, present, and (possibly) future capital of the world (ISBN 1597110442) is a photobook (or set of three photobooklets) by Hans Eijkelboom that has (or have) an introduction by Parr. -- Hoary (talk) 01:59, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Photography Calling![edit]

Photography Calling! (ISBN 3869303794, OCLC 814275579) is the 400-page-plus catalogue of an exhibition of Parr and many others. So many others that I don't suppose it needs to be listed. OTOH it's so big that it might. (I haven't seen a copy.) -- Hoary (talk) 08:40, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

30 photographers represented... if we include this, are there huge numbers of other books with a photo or two by Parr that we should include? It seems too much to me if that is the case. We're getting to the point where we'll have a 'Publications of Martin Parr' article! (which might be a worthwhile idea) It's great to see it coming along so exhaustively. -Lopifalko (talk)
Yes, I only mention it here on this talk page because of the possibility that it includes something original or is otherwise noteworthy. -- Hoary (talk) 09:53, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
It might indeed be a good idea. But if it were implemented, then I think one would also have to chase up significant publications within magazines. Perhaps these are noted within Val Williams' book; but whether a list is provided there or somewhere else I've no great appetite for copying the additional info into an article, however titled. (No offence intended to MP, but I've about had my fill for now of bibliographic inquiries related to his work.) And I'd guess that a number of these publications are more significant -- to people interested in photographs/photography, if not to the photobook retailing racket -- than a small minority of the publications we've assiduously listed so far. (Irrelevantly, have you noticed the impending publication of Errata "Books on books" Bad Weather?) -- Hoary (talk) 02:47, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
None of the photographer articles I've come across on Wikipedia includes such detail as listing magazine work, apart from where I've added them to Tony Ray-Jones, taken from the Russell Roberts book's very convenient bibliography. If I knew of somewhere to conveniently find such information it might be that it is an important part of a photographer's development - their first significant profile or interview in a magazine for instance.
Yes I had noticed the forthcoming Books on Books edition of Bad Weather. If the price is right then I will be interested, but am concerned it will be too small to appreciate. I was recently going to buy the Val Williams book but noticed that it too is about to be reissued so I am waiting for that. -Lopifalko (talk)
Offhand I can think of several significant and listworthy magazine contributions by other photographers: among them, a substantial chunk of a camera magazine (offhand I forget which) by Takanashi, preceding any of his books; and a substantial chunk of an issue of Creative Camera by Killip, preceding any of his real books (though after a portfolio). However, Wikipedia isn't indiscriminate. -- Hoary (talk) 14:44, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I would expect that if these contributions were considered important milestones in their career then they would have a place in Wikipedia. The thing is, finding an objective source that says that. Do you think the magazine contributions of TRJ shouldn't be included? -Lopifalko (talk)
If they're discussed somewhere, then they can be included. (If P, then Q. Which of course doesn't mean "If not P, then not Q". Rather, "If not P, then let's think about it".) Excuse my rather pompous response. (For much-deserved light relief, take a look at the prices asked these days for a copy of Russell Roberts' Tony Ray-Jones book.) -- Hoary (talk) 01:59, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
No pomposity felt, I like logic. Re: the Russell Roberts book, I know... the current price is a posture, adopted by sellers on Amazon and eBay, fishing. Recent evidence I've seen shows people don't want to pay more than 80 UK Pounds on eBay. For so long that book was one of the few staple icons of high value and high quality photobooks within this similar vein that have persisted for a few years (The Americans, The Last Resort and William Eggleston's Guide being others) so it is a shame to see it become so lacking in availability right at the time of Ray-Jones' big retrospective in England. There are signs that that could happen to Steidl's The Americans, IMO. Incidentally, if you somehow wanted to break anonymity I would be happy to gift you a copy of Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones. -Lopifalko (talk)

Leicas aren't so water-resistant[edit]

Parr's first publications, Bad Weather, published in 1982 by Zwemmer, Calderdale Photographs (1984) and A Fair Day: Photographs from the West Coast of Ireland (1984), all featured photographs from mostly northern England, and Ireland, in black-and-white. He used a Leica M3 with a 35 mm lens;[16][12] for some of Bad Weather he also used a flash.

He might have started Bad Weather with a Leica, but I remember reading somewhere (within that book itself, perhaps) that whatever he first tried using was quickly ruined; he soon learned to use either a Nikonos or something whose description can only mean it was a Nikonos. If there isn't a mention of this in the anthology edited by Val Williams then I'll attempt to locate a copy of Bad Weather and look it up there. -- Hoary (talk) 02:22, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

This might not be a RS, but here is one cite for the switch to Nikonos: -- TheMindsEye (talk) 05:18, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Ah . . . I'll go digging for Bad Weather. -- Hoary (talk) 09:28, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing this out. I had read somewhere that he used an underwater camera for Bad Weather. I've got lots of points to add regarding the equipment he used and how that intertwined with his subjects, techniques and aesthetics, and this was my first such addition. -Lopifalko (talk)
You're doing well. Keep it up! Meanwhile, I looked in the book itself. Incidentally, its back-cover blurb adds: "... With wry humour, visual deftness and an underwater camera he has captured a country enduring (and sometimes enjoying) the elements...." It's a fine book. -- Hoary (talk) 02:15, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Photograph of Martin Parr by Geoff Howard in 1974[edit]

This great photograph of Martin Parr by Geoff Howard at [4] shows Parr in the context of a social situation with a Leica M3, it looks to be somewhere in Lancashire, or perhaps Hebden Bridge. This would be a valuable addition to this article, but do you suppose we could use it? As an example of how its use might be covered under fair use, the photograph of Ed Ruscha at [5] is justified through "Purpose of use in article (WP:NFCC#8) To support encyclopedic discussion of this work in this article. The illustration is specifically needed to support the following point(s): It shows Edward Ruscha in the context of his prime work (1960's Southern California)". WP:NFCC#8 says "Contextual significance. Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the article topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding." ... added at 11:14, 23 April 2014‎ by Lopifalko

This would be tricky. It shows MP during a period before his best known (and, I think, most celebrated) photography. This is obvious because it's a 35 mm camera; we know (or, ahem, I remember or misremember) that he used a Plaubel Makina for his earliest colour stuff. I remember that Val Williams has commented on the appearance/demeanour of Parr and Meadows in their early years: tall, southern, posh, ambitious, self-confident. If only we had a quotation mentioning his large badges or similar.... It is indeed a wonderful photo and I'd relish an excuse to add a smaller version thereof (though I fear that somebody would insist on cropping it).
Meanwhile, the article has two photos of MP. Each is unflattering in its own way. Do we need both? In the second, MP seems aware of the photographer; and I infer that this is the way he prefers to be photographed, which in turn may tell us something about him. How about putting this photo in the place of the first? -- Hoary (talk) 22:31, 13 May 2015 (UTC)