one day at a time…
Saturday, 14 August 2004

Omelette Makers Use Broken Eggs
CREDIT: © Martin Parr/Tate Modern
WHERE: Britain 1995-1998 WHAT: photographic social commentary.
NOTE: both thumbnails pop-up the same source web page.

Common Sense 1 © Martin ParrMartin Parr's photography is hard for some people to understand, let alone appreciate or enjoy. More specifically, when Parr applied to become a member of Magnum, founder Henri Cartier-Bresson publicly articulated his objection, though he was not qualified to vote, so Parr scraped through to enter the elite group. Given the iconoclastic nature of the work, perhaps HCB disapproval is a recommendation.

Parr does work on the edge; a place of shifting values that offers opportunities to experimental artists. It is a place where if you are not failing, you are not succeeding either. Check out the careers of the great comedians whose work has pushed the conventional envelope a little. So when we say we can point to individual Parr images that we think are dismal failures, we mean no disrespect.

Common Sense 2 © Martin ParrAnother difficulty when assessing Parr images, is that they operate in parallel, intended to be seen in context as part of the whole. Today's thumbnail pair comes from a set entitled 'Common Sense', showcased on the Tait Modern web site; when we checked out Parr's own web site, the two images were not in the set of that name. We hope that isolating this pair meets with Parr approval.

Perhaps they are from a book version using same name. In that medium, the photographer's method was to assemble recto & verso pairs, and then sequence them into a visual narrative. A visit to the MartinParr.com web site is recommended before even beginning to form an opinion. For visitors able to handle RealOne files, the Tate Modern carries a video interview, in which Parr explains the way he works.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)