Category: Martin Parr

“Shoot Local, Think Global” Multistory’s Black Country Stories in the British Journal of Photography

January 5th, 2012 by dmb media

“Once known as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, the Black Country has fallen on hard times in recent decades, and remains home to pockets of severe economic deprivation. So it’s not the kind of place you’d expect to find one of Britain’s most progressive community-arts organisations, which for its latest project commissioned four of the world’s leading documentary photographers to record the everyday lives of people in the region……”

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Teddy Gray’s Sweet Shop, a film by Martin Parr which is part of the Black Country Stories

November 25th, 2011 by dmb media

Magnum photographer, Martin Parr returns to using a film camera in this wonderfully engaging documentary about Teddy Gray’s sweet factory in Dudley in the West Midlands. Established in 1826, Teddy Gray’s has always been a family owned and run business. Five generations have worked and contributed towards the business of keeping the traditional, hand-made methods of sweet making alive.

The Teddy Gray film is part of the Black Country Stories body of work commissioned by Multistory to document life in the Black Country by capturing and celebrating the unique mix of communities living in the area and of existing traditional Black Country life.

Filmed and directed by Martin Parr. A Multistory Production, 2011

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“Bristol and West” exhibition by Martin Parr opening 31st August at the Mshed

August 24th, 2011 by dmb media

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“Empty Bottles” by WassinkLundgren in Martin Parr’s Best Books of the Decade

July 18th, 2011 by dmb media

In July 2011, PhotoIreland will present Martin Parr’s Best photo books of the Decade, an exhibition of 30 publications from all over the globe, hand-picked by the world-famous photographer and photographic bibliophile. These photo books have not only fantastic images, but also have exceptional production value which, and become classics of their own time. Often quite radical, and sometimes taking a good amount of time to let their merits be appreciated, all of these books are bound to go down as important contributors to the ongoing photographic book culture.

Made curious by all the news we read about China, we travelled to Beijing and Shanghai in 2006 with the intention to make a body of work; to see the place for ourselves and compare it to all that we had been reading. The time spent there resulted in the publication Empty Bottles, which shows 24 people collecting plastic bottles.

It was a subject we came across by accident. While setting up the camera, a woman walked into the image and picked up a bit of plastic that we used as a means of focussing in the hazy light. We made a contact sheet of the negative and put it up on our hotel room wall. It was only after a few weeks that we realised the significance of the gesture portrayed in this picture. The simple act of picking up a bottle, often in contrast with a booming skyline, touched on several big issues in a very subtle way (e.g. resources; megacities; the contrasts between rich and poor). It was this photograph that became the starting point for a larger body of work.

We set out to photograph more bottle collectors. But to address the fact that we were just two foreigners – curiously gathering information and by no means experts on the subject – we didn’t want to try to show the subject from the viewpoint of the bottle collectors, but to show it from our own point of view. We wanted our way of working to be a part of the images. This approach resulted in a way of shooting where we planted an empty bottle in front of our view camera and waited until somebody picked it up. Sometimes the bottle was gone before we were behind the camera, other times it lasted more than an hour before someone cared to pick it up. The camera was always in plain view, and the subject of our images only a few meters away.

Putting the bottles in front of the camera turned this documentary project almost into a performance piece, where people were acting out their daily routines on a pre-set stage. We felt that this way of working showed our position as outsiders, and at the same time invited some people to interact. On one occasion, a small group of people watched us while we were setting up the camera and placed the bottle in front of it. Not willing to participate, two of them walked in front of the camera and stood with their backs towards the lens, while a third person, obscured by the two others, picked up the bottle and walked away. The empty bottle, which almost functioned as a cable release here, decided the moment the film was exposed, and the people in front of the camera directed their own scene on our stage.

Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren, June 2011

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3.5 minute insight into WassinkLundgren in conversation with Martin Parr

June 7th, 2011 by dmb media

“Witty and Humorous, its a classic WassinkLundgren invention” writes the British Journal of Photography in the article Conceptual Blurb and in this three and a half minute video you really get an insight into what, how and why these photographers are just that.

Martin Parr talks with, Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren about their ideas and conception behind projects “Empty Bottles” and “Lu Xiaoben” along with how they both meet and why it works so well. These small snippets of conversation show the photographers humorously navigating Martin’s questions and bringing a honest playfulness to the medium in which they work.

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