Boring PostcardsMartin Parr

Martin Parr is a key figure in the world of photography and contemporary art. Some accuse him of cruelty, but many more appreciate the wit and irony with which he tackles such subjects as bad taste, food, the tourist, shopping and the foibles of the British. Parr has been collecting postcards for 20 years, and here is the cream of his collection - his boring postcards. With no introduction or commentary of any kind, Parr's boring postcards are reproduced straight. They are exactly what they say they are, namely boring picture postcards showing boring photographs of boring places, presumably for boring people to buy to send to their boring friends. All of them are shot in Britain, taking us on a boring tour of its motorways, ring roads, traffic interchanges, bus stations, pedestrian precincts, factories, housing estates, airports, caravan sites, convalescent homes and shopping centres. Some attempt to idealize their subjects, only to fail dismally. Others lack any apparent purpose or interest, but the resultant collection of photographic images is wholly compelling.

Boring Postcards is multi-layered: a commentary on British architecture, social life and identity, a record of a folk photography which is today being appropriated by the most fashionable photographers (including Parr), an exercise in sublime minimalism and, above all, a richly comic photographic entertainment.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 150 × 210 mm (6 × 8 1/4 in)
  • Pages: 176 pp
  • Illustrations: 155 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714843902

The work of Martin Parr bridges the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world, his innovative imagery and his prolific output have placed him firmly at the forefront of contemporary art. A member of the international photo agency Magnum, Parr is an avid collector of books and a world authority on the photobook.

"They are, in their boringness, strangely beautiful. They are funny, nostalgic, and utterly eccentric. Their banality fascinates. Actually, they're not boring at all."—Big Issue

"Far from dull, Parr's book is a strangely compelling commentary on post-war British architecture, social life and identity."—Independent on Sunday

"Exquisitely tedious visual gems."—World of Interiors

"The funniest book [of the year] has been Boring Postcards by Martin Parr, which I keep on the kitchen table and chortle over during breakfast. This sends my cornflakes flying."—Charlotte Cory, Independent

"Brilliant."—Evening Standard

"Individually, the cards are a kitsch hoot; collectively, they re-create not only the appearance but the spirit and soul of a Britain that vanished for ever somewhere around the 1970s… Parr’s 'boring postcards' give meaning to a wistful phrase much beloved of recent prime ministers. They show the last time Britain really was, for better or worse, a nation at ease with itself. Look back and mourn."—The Sunday Times

"Martin Parr’s daringly dull collection of 160 coma-inducing postcards from the edge of common sense. Yes, they’re funny. But they also reveal a view of the UK in the period from the '50s to the '70s, when road-building and fast development looked like signs of a healthy future."—Time Out

"Individually each of the postcards more than meet the requirements of the book’s title – yes, these are ludicrously boring places – but as whole they make a compelling collection."—Dazed & Confused

"Compelling, humourous and highly entertaining..."—Dudley & District Chronicle

"Masterpiece of mundaneness..."—Cumberland Evening News & Star

"Excruciatingly bland..."—BBC Top Gea

"Groovy, baby."—Time

"A boring magical mystery tour round the British Isles... Already influential as a record of British social history, the collection of postcards has been bequeathed by Martin Parr to the Victoria and Albert Museum.'"—Kent Messenger

"A fascinating insight into the weird and wonderful world of wish your were where – and you can guarantee it won’t be here... Intriguing... "—City Life, Manchester

"Top of the class... Its blend of pathos and bathos is hilarious. It fills the onlooker with Christmas spirit: that’s to say, nostalgia, revulsion, hysteria and delight."—Evening Standard

I have become obsessed with a book called Boring Postcards … there is nothing boring about the hundred or so postcards taken from the collection of Martin Parr. The captions alone make fabulous reading… "—Building Design

"Boring Postcards has itself become collectable. The first edition sold out within weeks and the reprint has now also sold out... Silly and poignant."—Tribune

"For Proust, it was madeleines. For some of us, it might be these wonderful images from Martin Parr’s Boring Postcards… A richly comic journey... A quirky set of glimpses into different worlds that prove, cumulatively, strangely touching."—Independent

"Strangely compelling… A little slice of history."—OK!

"Does exactly what it says on the tin."—Romsey Advertiser