This year’s Master of Photography is the legendary British photographer Martin Parr, who will present an exhibition of new images taken in the UK ‘Martin Parr: Recent Works’ at Photo London 2023 will continue a project that Parr has been working on for the past half-century.
For over 50 years now I have been photographing in Britain and Ireland and have built a comprehensive archive of my time here, which has been further broken down into different chapters. These range from early black and white images of a mental hospital, to the Chinese community in Liverpool and Manchester. When I changed to shooting in colour, I started by depicting a working class resort adjacent to Liverpool, and subjects such as shopping in Salford and the middle classes of Bath and Bristol. More recently I have documented the establishment, with projects on Oxford University and the Livery companies of London.
Presented here at Photo London are recent images that have not been shown before, mostly taken very recently and show highlights from my ongoing documentation of the British Isles. Many familiar subjects are found here such as my long fascination with the British seaside and the ongoing documenting of agricultural shows and summer fetes. New discoveries are always being made such as the wonderful steam fair in Dorset or the half marathon in Bristol.
I think of these images as an interpretation of the many mixed emotions I feel towards my
homeland. It is almost a love/hate relationship, and I find addressing this is almost a form of
therapy for me.
To complement this show is a grid of images taken from my Beach Therapy project. With my ongoing fascination with the seaside this is a set of images taken with a telephoto lens, where I explore distant figures on the beach, usually with out of focus greenery in the foreground. Although each is an individual work, they become a fascinating grid when put together.
Finally, there are half a dozen photo deckchairs, again shot on the beach, to give people a—Martin Parr, 2023
chance to contemplate the work they have just seen.
With 110 exhibitors coming from 55 cities across five continents, Photo London 2023 shows the very best of the past, present and future of photography worldwide. ‘Martin Parr: Recent Works’ leads the Photo London 2023’s Public Programme. It is accompanied by the group show ‘Writing her own Script: Women Photographers from the Hyman Collection’ and the Photo London Talks Programme curated by Aperture, which will feature a talk by Parr.
Photo London’s Co-Founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad comment:
Martin Parr is quite rightly regarded as the godfather of British photography. It is no exaggeration to say that without Martin Parr’s exemplary practice today’s British photography scene would be much impoverished. It would certainly be a great deal less fun. He has been an unstinting and generous champion of young and overlooked photographers and through the work of the Foundation that he set up in 2017 he has worked tirelessly to make photography accessible to all. In all this Martin’s work aligns perfectly with our own and we are thrilled to present him as our 2023 Master of Photography.
Martin Parr: Recent Works, Photo London Master of Photography 2023, Photo London, Somerset House,11th – 14th May 2023
About the artist
Martin Parr is one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation. With over 100 books of his own published, and another 30 edited by Parr, his photographic legacy is already established. Parr also acts as a curator and editor. He has curated two photography festivals, Arles in 2004 and Brighton Biennial in 2010. More recently Parr curated the Barbican exhibition, ‘Strange and Familiar’. Parr has been a member of the Magnum Photos agency since 1994 and was President from 2013 – 2017. In 2013 Parr was appointed the visiting professor of photography at the University of Ulster. Many of the major museums have collected Parr’s work, from the Tate, the Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Martin Parr established the Martin Parr Foundation in 2017. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in June, 2021.
The Photo London Master of Photography is presented every year to a living artist who has contributed exceptionally to photography. The previous recipients are: Sebastiao Salgado (2015), Don McCullin (2016), Taryn Simon (2017) Edward Burtynsky (2018), Stephen Shore (2019), Shirin Neshat (2021) and Nick Knight (2022).