Martin Parr just sent his new book to the queen!

'I have the honour to remain your majesty's most humble and obedient servant,' the photographer writes
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Martin Parr's copy of Only Human signed personally to her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II
Martin Parr's copy of Only Human signed personally to her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II

Whether photographing a stranger, a friend, Her Majesty the Queen or other public figures, Martin Parr approaches each in much the same way.

"His pictures are often humorous, but the people they portray transcend their comic circumstances," photo curator Phillip Prodger writes in our new Martin Parr book Only Human.

Understandably, many of those people Martin Parr photographs request a signed copy of either the print itself or a book their photo eventually appears in. 

However, when it's the most powerful woman in England in the frame you don't wait for them to ask. You send. Which is why there is a signed copy of Martin Parr's new book Only Human winging it's way to number 1 The Mall as you read this. 

Parr's 2014 snap of The Queen visiting the Livery Hall of the Drapers’ Livery Company for their 650th anniversary is not one of his surreptitiously snatched moments but sees her majesty photographed, unusually, from behind, as the carefully coordinated paraphernalia of another Royal visit unwraps around her. It's a great image from a real master.

 

The Queen visiting the Livery Hall of the Drapers’ Livery Company for their 650th anniversary, the City of London, London, England, 2014
The Queen visiting the Livery Hall of the Drapers’ Livery Company for their 650th anniversary, the City of London, London, England, 2014

Maybe Parr was smart to shoot from behind. As Grayson Perry writes in his introduction to Only Human,"One of the first things I asked him is something I’m sure other people must wonder: ‘How do you get away with taking some of these photographs?’ If I saw Martin striding purposefully towards me with a camera, I would be tempted to run."

Obviously the Queen could not have been unaware of Parr's lens. But maybe her majesty understood that it's an honour - even for her - to be part of a body of photographic work that reveals the eccentricities of modern life with such affection and obvious insight. We sincerely hope you enjoy the book ma'am. 

Only Human is published to coincide both with Parr's 2019 exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery and also the date the UK was originally expected to leave the EU. Bringing together new work from the last decade, Parr's latest book explores the concepts of Britishness and national identity through the rituals and habits of everyday life.

The collection of photos examines what it means to be human at a time of both change and retrospection. And if you'd like to buy your own signed copy you can do that here. Here's a pciture of Martin signing them when he was at Phaidon earlier this month. 

Martin Parr signing copies of his book in Phaidon's London office. These ones are available to buy here


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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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