Martin Parr – Welcome To Belfast
Martin Parr is one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation, and I am a huge fan of his work so I was delighted to be invited by Belfast Exposed to meet Martin before the launch of his ‘Welcome to Belfast’ exhibition.
To have an exhibition by a world renowned photographer (and the President of Magnum) is HUGE for Belfast, especially as Parr took such a genuine interest in our city and the ‘Welcome to Belfast’ tourism project, commissioned by Belfast Exposed and supported by the Arts Council NI and Belfast City Council.
The images from his ‘Last Resort’ series are still etched in my mind from when I used to sell his work for eye storm and Magnum in London many years ago, and I chatted to him about how this body of work in particular had such an impact on his career, as well as his time living in Ireland in the 1980’s, his subsequent visits to Belfast and the impact of digital photography and social media has had for photographers today.
The art and photographic community came out en masse to see Martin’s signature style, and he did not fail with his gritty yet witty vision of Belfast which documented some of our particular social presence, with nods of the past and hints of current attitudes. Parr’s greatest advice to photographers is to ‘seek the extraordinary in the ordinary’, and he really does just that.