Have you seen Martin Parr’s new Vogue cover?

The photographer’s landscape image is one of sixteen covers which highlight the steadying force of nature
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Martin Parr's August 2020 cover for British Vogue
Martin Parr's August 2020 cover for British Vogue

Like so many of us, Martin Parr has been having an up and down lockdown. “St Paul’s Carnival, Bristol Pride, Glastonbury — all these events I normally would have gone to have been cancelled,” the photographer told British Vogue following the publication of his landscape image on its August cover. “I’ve been a bit bereft of my main subject matter.”

The picture, which Parr shot from the side of the A96 road, en-route from Aberdeen to Speyside in Scotland, is one of fourteen images that grace the cover of the magazine currently, all of which are loosely themed around the idea of “nature as a steadying force amid the chaos,” as Edward Enninful, British Vogue’s editor put it.

Steadying perhaps, though this particular sight brought Parr to an abrupt hault, during a trip from his home in Bristol, South Eastern England to Scotland’s MacAllan Distillery. "It just struck me,” he explained. “It’s very rare to get moments like this when something just works.”

 

Martin Parr
Martin Parr

Parr more commonly trains his lens on mammals a little further up the food chain: humankind. As Grayson Perry puts it in our new Martin Parr book, Only Human, "I look at those images of county ladies stuffing their faces, tourists trapped in clichés, ridiculous fanatics, drunken revellers and the jolly grim working classes, and they all seem to be hovering uncomfortably between comedy and tragedy.”

Perhaps social distancing has led him to search a little further afield. After all, as Parr tells Vogue, it is “very unusual” for him not to leave home for months on end. Or could all that extra time at home have pushed the photographer to look at opening up opportunities in his own profession?

Parr founded his own foundation in 2014, not only to take care of his archive and his own collection of photographs, but also to further the development of his chosen medium, and, as the Martin Parr Foundation explained in a recent statement, “to champion British documentary photography and to support overlooked and emerging photographers.” 

 

Durban July races, South Africa, 2005, from Only Human by Martin Parr
Durban July races, South Africa, 2005, from Only Human by Martin Parr
 

With this in mind, the Foundation has just launched its own set of photographic bursaries to support Black, Asian and minority ethnic photographers in the UK. “Each bursary will provide £1,000 to enable a documentary photographer to complete an existing project, or begin a new project,” the statement goes on to explain. “The Foundation will offer mentoring if desired. There are three bursaries available.”

Applicants will also be asked to donate two prints to the Foundation’s collection, the cost of which will also be met. Anyone interested in taking the offer, should apply by sending 12-15 images in JPEG format and a 250 word project statement to submissions@martinparrfoundation.org by Friday 7 August. Find our more here.

 

A collector's edition of Only Human by Martin Parr
A collector's edition of Only Human by Martin Parr
 

For more on Parr’s Lockdown Life go here; and to see more of his beautiful, funny, and at times tragic images, consider a Collector’s Edition of Parr’s new book, featuring a limited-edition print of a deeply summery shot of an ice-cream van queue in Tenby, Wales.


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