Monday, 3 September 2012

Exhibition: Martin Parr 'No Worries'

Today I visited the Brisbane Powerhouse Museum to see the Martin Parr Exhibition entitled 'No Worries', a photo essay documenting life in three small West Australian towns that was commissioned for the Fremantle photo festival FotoFreo. I thought the exhibition was excellent, and it was fantastic to see a large selection (probably about 40) prints of this very well known photographer. His use of intense colour was really obvious in the images, as well as really clever framing and varied viewpoints. The prints ranged a lot in size which added to the interest of the series as a whole. I made quite a few notes about the range of subject matter in my notebook which I won't reproduce here, instead I'll make some comments about the exhibition as a whole.

I thought there were many excellent images (not surprising given Parr's other work!) and it was great to see his take on Australian life, and how quintessential scenes had been captured by the master of capturing people and life in all it's glory (and ugliness!). His framing shows great mastery. The first image I thought was fabulous consisted of a beergut, stubby with beer in the foreground, man in chair on the beach in the midground and camel train behind behind is fabulous, and just perfectly captures the character of Broome. (You can see some of the images on the T and G Publishing website) (2011). There were many others that I thought were great. Overall, he has captured a wide variety of scenes of everyday life - of people in their homes and in their workplaces and in their places of relaxation. All are gently poking fun at the West Australian culture and people, and are in brilliant saturated colour and creative framing. A delight to view and I shall try to get back along to the exhibition before it closes in a few weeks. Part of the book can be 'viewed' on Parr's website (2012).
Book cover of 'No Worries', by Martin Parr. Taken from T and G website for personal study purposes
Spread from 'No Worries', by Martin Parr. Taken from T and G website for personal study purposes

When I got home I found a video online by David Dare Parker who interviewed and followed Parr for some of his time in Broome and Port Headland. The video is here. It provided some interesting insights into Parr's work, and it was good to see some actual footage of him shooting, posing people
("...the key is not to smile ... a portrait is a serious thing...") 
(a rough quote from Parr in the video) (2011) and commenting on his work and his desire to become more of a 'community photographer', a concept which I like - shooting in the community and then returning to show the community the images of themselves.

Parker, D. (2011), David Dare Parker Blog [online], Available from [Accessed 4 September 2012]

Parr, M. (2012), Martin Parr Website [online], Available from [Accessed 4 September 2012]

T and G Publishing (2011), [online], Available from [Accessed 4 September 2012]

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