Martin Parr

Martin Parr occupies a central place in British photography, the most prominent British documentary photographer of his generation and a celebrated Magnum photojournalist and photobook collector.

After graduating from Manchester Polytechnic in 1973, Parr emerged onto the scene with a series of black and white photographs heavily inspired by the work of fellow British documentary photographer, Tony Ray-Jones. It was Parr's work in colour photography, however, that truly established his reputation. He exhibited his first series of colour photographs in an exhibition entitled Home Sweet Home at the Impressions Gallery and has since gone on to become a pioneer of colour photography in Britain. 

In 1986, Parr published Last Resort, a collection of photographs documenting working class members of the public on holiday in New Brighton. The most influential of Parr's publications and exhibitions, the series launched Parr's career internationally and heralded in a new era of social documentary photography in Britain. 

In 1994, Parr became a member of Magnum Photographic Corporation and in 2002, the Barbican in conjunction with the The National Media Museum, initiated a retrospective of Parr's career to date, which toured for the next 5 years.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Parr's early black-and-white vintage photographs. Largely funded through the Arts Council, Parr created a number of series and publications exploring English identity. Again influenced by the great Tony Ray-Jones, Parr published and exhibited a number of photographic projects including Bad Weather, Beauty Spots and A Fair Day. In 2013, the much anticipated Media Space opened at the Science Museum in London with an exhibition devoted to the work of Ray-Jones along with early black-and-white photographs from Parr's Non-Conformist series. 

Parr has published over 80 books and edited 30 others. He has curated several exhibitions and his work is collected by MoMA, New York, Tate Modern, London, the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Museum Folkwang, Essen, among many others.


In 2014 he established the Martin Parr Foundation "to advance education in the arts, in particular the art of photography, by the establishment and maintenance of a gallery and library of documentary photography books and photographs, in particular but not by way of limitation, of the work of Martin Parr"