Martin Parr Foundation

Bristol Paintworks, 27th October 2018.

Great to meet up with Jesse, Paul and fellow students (and a graduate) on the MA at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol on Saturday. Terrific collection of photobooks (from Chris Killip’s and other collections: Martin’s massive collection now with the Tate), Martin’s archive, work he has collected by other photographers, and an excellent exhibition space (current exhibition is Paul Trevor’s ‘In Your Face‘). There is a lot to explore here, but standouts for me on this initial visit are Graham Smith’s prints with handwritten narrative by him on the back of each one (Martin’s assistant, Louis, reading one of these below).

And the dummies of photobooks, giving insight into the process of putting a book together. Julian Germain’s dummy for ‘For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose 60 Seconds of Happiness’ is a work of art in it’s own right (see this and final book below).

And a lovely small book with short story by Ahndraya Parlato & Greg Halpern, which presented an interesting way of combining images and fiction.

For my own work, I’m certainly going to explore Graham Smith’s work more closely, particularly in how he comes to understand and describe the lives of individuals and communities in a particular area (industrial Middlesborough, in this case). Notable that he moved away from photography when his images were misused in the press (to represent working class people negatively), which he felt had compromised his commitment to the community and the trust they had placed in him. And creating dummy books is a good activity for workshops with residents and community groups. Will explore the subscription scheme when it is launched.