CHECKING IN WITH MARTIN PARR

ART IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
May 27, 2020
© Martin Parr from Autoportrait

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait

 

How are you? How have you been since this all began?
I am fine, but a bit frustrated as I am a people photographer, preferably all crammed together at an event.

 

Martin Parr,  St. Ives, U K, 2017. From  'Beach Therapy'

Martin Parr, St. Ives, UK, 2017. From 'Beach Therapy'

 

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Do you have a daily routine? What do you typically do during your days? 
We always go for a long walk or bicycle ride, so are discovering some great rural locations near to the house. Also really enjoy cooking, so have had some terrific meals as we all have more time than before. Some of the pleasures of spring are the likes of asparagus and local strawberries.

 

Are you photographing? If so, what are you focusing your lens on these days?

I have been doing a series of people queuing for various things like supermarkets, or even buying ice cream. I have also been shooting the bird feeder and bath outside our kitchen window. It's not as easy as I thought it might be.

 

Martin Parr,  Tenby, Whales , 2018

Martin Parr, Tenby, Whales, 2018

 

Knowing you travel a great deal for work, how has the confinement to home affected you and your work?
Well all of the trips planned have gone, I should have been doing a big shoot in Melbourne in early May, but obviously cancelled. 

 
Martin Parr,  DIFC Gulf Art Fair, Dubai, United Arab Emirates , 2000

Martin Parr, DIFC Gulf Art Fair, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2000

 

I did shoot a tin of tuna the other day for a company called Bumble Bee as they saw my thread, featuring canned food on my Instagram page.

 

 

Has this time given you the space to think about past and/or future projects? If so, what is on your mind? 
I am thinking, as I just turned 68, I am getting on a bit, and it maybe the case that my whole year of shooting has been taken away, as the summer is always the busiest time. I am also doing things like going through old contact prints from the 80's and discovering new photos, so there is always something positive to do.

 

Martin Parr,  Leningrad, St Petersburg, Russia , 1992

Martin Parr, Leningrad, St Petersburg, Russia, 1992

 

How has your work with the Martin Parr Foundation changed since the pandemic began? What projects is the foundation working on? 
We have introduced weekly photo challenges, which have been well supported. Our bookshop has been busy and we are about to start doing Zoom talks, so we are keeping busy. We also have a series of interviews with other photographers, which you can see for free on the MP Foundation YouTube site. We have released Alec Soth and Simon Roberts during the pandemic.
We are also launching a Lockdown Box, this week, with 5 prints, related to the pandemic and a face mask with an MP photo on.

 

In which ways have you found humor in this whole situation? 
Well there is always humour in everything, my work is about celebrating the quirks of humanity, and nothing much has changed, except you see less people.

 

Martin Parr,  The Perry Family – daughter Florence, Philippa and Grayson, London, England,  2012.

Martin Parr, The Perry Family – daughter Florence, Philippa and Grayson, London, England, 2012.

 

Martin Parr,  Dame Vivienne Westwood, London , 2012.

Martin Parr, Dame Vivienne Westwood, London, 2012.

 

How are you spending your time when you are not working on projects? Are you reading any books or watching any films that you have found particularly engaging? 
I am not a reader of novels, but have re-read photo books such as the big Sergio Larrain book and the likes of Garry Winogrand. Also I have been enjoying hearing Darius Hines read out some very impressive texts on photography. 

 

What are you looking forward to past this time? 
Getting back on the road with a camera and the simple pleasure  of having a meal in a restaurant.

 

Martin Parr,  New Brighton, Merseyside , from the series  Last Resort , 1983-1986

Martin Parr, New Brighton, Merseyside, from the series Last Resort, 1983-1986

About the author

Sophi Winnikoff

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