Martin Parr

2014 Honoree: Achievement in documentary


Martin_Parr_Magnum_PhotosMartin Parr was born in Epsom, Surrey, UK, in 1952. When he was a boy, his budding interest in the medium of photography was encouraged by his grandfather George Parr, himself a keen amateur photographer. Martin Parr studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic, from 1970 to 1973.

Since that time, he has worked on numerous photographic projects. He has developed an international reputation for his innovative imagery, his oblique approach to social documentary, and his input to photographic culture within the UK and abroad. In 1994 he became a full member of Magnum Photographic Corporation. Martin developed an interest in filmmaking, and has started to use his photography within different conventions, such as fashion and advertising.

In 2002, the Barbican Art Gallery and the National Media Museum initiated a large retrospective of Martin Parr’s work. This show toured Europe for the next 5 years. Martin Parr was additionally the Professor of Photography at The University of Wales Newport campus from 2004 to 2012. In addition, he was a Guest Artistic Director for Rencontres D’Arles in 2004.

In 2006, Martin Parr was awarded the Erich Salomon Prize and the resulting Assorted Cocktail show opens at Photokina. In 2008, he was guest curator at New York Photo Festival, curating the New Typologies exhibition.

Parrworld opened at Haus de Kunst, Mucich, in 2008. The show exhibited Parr’s own collection of objects, postcards, his personal photography collection of both British and International artists, photo books and finally his own photographs. The exhibition toured Europe for the following 2 years.

At PhotoEspana, 2008, Martin Parr won the Baume et Mercier award in recognition of his professional career and contributions to contemporary photography. Parr additionally curated the Brighton Photo Biennial that took place in October 2010. In 2013, he was appointed visiting Professor of Photography at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

More recently, Martin has been working on a 4-year project documenting the Black Country, an area of the English West Midlands, in conjunction with Multistory. Phaidon publishes the third volume of the highly influential History of the Photobook in Spring 2014. Parr is also working on a book about the History of Chinese Photobooks to be published by Aperture in late 2014—he has published over 80 books of his own work and edited another 30.

Martin Parr is the recipient of many honors including the 2006 Eric Solomon Award for Photojournalism, Photokina, the 2008 Photo Espania Award for Photographic achievement, and the 2008 Photo Espania lifetime achievement prize.