The one thing that makes Martin Parr put down his camera
The Magnum photographer discusses what does, and what doesn’t, make him click
Many of us recognise the elements that go into a Martin Parr photograph. The British photographer’s images are usually fun and colourful or often shot through with an acid wit. However, in a new interview with Digital Camera World, Parr says the things he really looks for in his viewfinder aren't bright colours or telling moments, but a strong visual design to bring harmony to the picture. “Finding a strong design to carry the image is the hardest part,” he says. “You have to make some order of our chaotic world.”
Once that’s in place, producing a sharp image in a fraction of a second has actually become easier, given advances in technology. “The quality of the digital files from a DSLR [digital single-reflex camera] these days is mind-blowing,” he says. “I am getting the same quality that I was from a medium-format camera in the analogue days.”
However, the Magnum photographer also acknowledges that technology has also brought about a greater need for good documentary photography. “We always need it as the world changes so fast,” he says, “and especially when it's not changing in a good way.”
Yet there remains one style of photography that Parr still finds eminently resistible. “A good walk in the beautiful countryside can make me leave my camera at home,” he reveals. Why? “I don't want to photograph landscapes!”
To see everything but landscapes, order a copy of Only Human. This new book on Martin Parr explores the photographer's most enduring subject – people – as never before. For a limited period you can buy signed editions in our store, here.