ARTICLE SARAH CRISTOBAL
PHOTOGRAPHY MARTIN PARR
INTREPID PHOTOGRAPHER MARTIN PARR GIVES V AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT HIS LATEST BOOK OF IMAGES, UP AND DOWN PEACHTREE, BASED ON A SOCIAL EXPLORATION OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA
“I liked the rather crazy mix that the city had to offer,” responds Martin Parr when asked about his first trip to Georgia’s state capital. And what a mix it is. Where else can you find Baptist churches, white wine-swilling society folk, and Coca-Cola flip-flops? But diverse sights such as these are nothing the welltraveled documentarian and cultural anthropologist hasn’t seen before. Parr has been honing his craft since the ’70s, conducting camera-driven field studies everywhere—from middle-class England and lavish Dubai art festivals to Japanese communter trains and the slovenly grounds of Las Vegas’s runway strip.
The impetus for his latest sojourn came when Atlanta’s High Museum of Art commissioned Parr to fix his trained lens on the city’s inhabitants and local emphemera. The resulting images will be shown at the museum in June as part of a group exhibition entitled Picturing the South and will also be published in the artist’s 54th tome, Up and Down Peachtree. The Atlanta series is ripe with Parr’s recurring themes of consumerism, social mores, and an overall appreciation of the banal, conveying a relatable and revelatory tongue-in-cheek glimpse into the lifestyle choices of his subjects. “America is a very good place for a nosey photographer to work in,” he says. “There are so many layers of activities, and pretty friendly people that generally speak English.”
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY MARTIN PARR MAGNUM PHOTOS/JANET BORDEN