Camper: Martin Parr on photography


My source of inspiration for all the work that I take
is the world in which we live, which is always fascinating,
always complicated, and always difficult
to try and understand. And my… connection to the world
of photography is very international, I’ve worked
in anything from Latin America, to Japan, China, Australia. I do have a lot of travel. It’s rather unfortunate, sometimes I wish I could
spend more time at home, but that’s really…
My palette is the world out there, so I have to go and connect to it. I became a photographer
when I was a teenager. Because my grandfather was
a very keen amateur photographer. When I went to stay with him
during my school holidays, he gave me a camera,
we went out shooting together. I made… processed the film, I made some prints.
So, by about the age of 13 or 14, I decided that I wanted
to be a photographer. Then I went to college
to study photography at Manchester Polytechnic,
when I was 18 and I left when I was 21, and I’ve been
a photographer ever since. I had a very clear idea, from the very beginning,
that’s what I wanted to do, and that’s what I’ve gone and done. There’s inevitably some romance
and nostalgia in my work, but I also try
and see it objectively and I try and show ordinary things, I try not to indulge myself
with those two ideas too much, so it’s a question of trying
to find a middle ground. My biggest fascination is to try and make
the ordinary look extraordinary. That’s my ultimate goal, and that’s what I’m trying to do
through my photography. And, here,
you can see everything from the subject matter,
to emotions, to ideas, to concepts. What we tried to do, was to marry some of the ideas
that Camper wanted to promote, with some of my photos, and it was very good fun
to try and match these things. I came up with photos,
they’d come up with words. They came up with words,
and I would come up with photos. We had this process
of trying to work out how to marry
these two ideas together. Because I’ve been
very widely traveled and I’ve photographed
all over the place, people, places, things,
we had great fun making this collaboration. We were doing the ABC,
all the way through the alphabet, there’s some letters where
we had too many ideas and words, and some where
we had to look a bit harder. And that’s just the nature
of trying to piece together the concept around an idea. Then each one, we’d look at it and we would
come up with suggestions, you’d come up with suggestions,
and we’d work it out through that.

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