Thursday, August 15, 2013


In one of them, a gleaming spread of uncooked sausages is presented in a visceral heap that makes you gag, and in another, the unfortunate cellulite on the thighs bulging out of a pudgy middle aged woman’s over-tight bikini leaves you clueless as to what is appropriate to think at the moment. All lurid aspects of the visuals apart, the shock wave that every Martin Parr Photograph sends through the viewer is definite with a scare of being watched, of persecution of personal space, of covert surveillance- one might as well feel trapped in George Orwell’s menacing1984- part of which roots from the fact that we all love to deny the absurdities of those unsophisticated details associated with every candid moment we live through in each breath.
When one gapes up at a Parr photograph, one has to be prepared to shudder at the brazen realism emerging from them. His unflinching depiction of brutal albeit undeniable humor in every corner of everyday life amuses everyone (obviously not when the joke is on you!). And more often than not his humor is built around the mundane. They are mostly scenes that have played and replayed in front of us all our lives. But in Parr’s light, and color, the truth with all its ironies and imperfections are stamped in grotesque, often unforgettable frames of kids gawking at boobs, splayed legs of men and women sun bathing but occasionally clipped out of context, food-remains stuck in teeth, and dirt under fingernails holding half eaten doughnuts. The list just goes on, and there is no dearth to the clumsiness and follies of life, so to say, revealed to you through the eyes of this genius who has been at it since the 1970s.
It cannot be denied that the so-called clumsiness is all about the way one looks at this celebrated British documentary photographer’s works. They are not clumsy, but may extensively display subjects that are clumsy. Most of them tell us about things we may not like to know about us, or rather not like to know ever existed around us, and above all, ever not want anybody else to know or notice about us. Parr’s pictures, with its great sense of wit, harass this relentless human denial, as they are life instances at its most unassuming moments. 
His photo documentaries unflinchingly exhibit social paradoxes of modern life across the globe. It demonstrates human insecurities, inequalities, and insensitivities along with greed and consumerism among other things that you otherwise feign to have conveniently overlooked in your stride. One such major area of concentration is the lifestyle and motifs of the rich, which he has recurrently ridiculed as a rule.
The details that appear in the Parr pictures are unique and anything but subtle, and time and again they have appalled people with their intrusive nature with garish colors and unappetizing close-ups captured with the use of flash. But you take it or leave it one can’t deny a marked style in this satirist’s works (even though the influence of colors and urban tableau in the works of William Eggleston is apparent in his pictures) and his vignettes make statements that makes many uneasy.
In short his images are like Brit humor. They hurt often, but are distinctive and sidesplitting when it’s not on you. And like he says, “… you still have the legal and moral right… to photograph anyone in public place and do what you like with it.” 
So bring it on baby!

1 comment:

  1. i understand the new wave of ugly selling (ppl need change et all and admittedly fake pretty ain't the coolest thing to openly admire)
    but i see enough ugly on my own ... so no thank you!!


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