Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Magnum photographer: MARTIN PARR at the Centre Georges Pompidou

On the top of Living in Paris Pro's list there is the infinity of cultural events, artistic conferences and exhibition openings that take place everyday.
Although my timetable and my 12hours sleeping nights (I don't fit with the parisian rythm), I went yesterday to Martin Parr conference at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
The conference was organized through an interview handled by François Ebel, the programming director of Arles photography festival.
During an hour and a half, Parr answered with his magical british accent doubled of this kind of casualness I particularly like to questions about his work and the political filter through he frames the world.
First, technically he explained how he quit B&W to digital color photography assuming that the latter one was about using commercial symbols and advertising language. It also helps the entertaining ingredient he considers as the best canal to popularize political messages. The subversion is provided by a ring flash (usually used for medical purposes) combined with the day light and a macro lens.
Second, Parr' style is axed along several multifaceted works: Parr is a documentary, fashion, and art photographer at the same time. A large spectrum of activites that has conducted to a controversial reception by his peers. Indeed, when the question of his entry in the Magnum Agency raised in the art world, photographers represented in the board of trustees (Henri Cartier Bresson and Georges Roger) where opposing arguments about the Parr's case. Only a few years later and after Martin Parr exhibition at Le Jeu de Paume in Paris where Henri Cartier Bresson showed off, a fax was sent the same night mentioning "You come from another planet. Henri Cartier Bresson." Yet, his cooptation in the agency was concluded.
When talking about his favortie- not to say redundant - themes it is useful to note that he considers himself as a humanistic photographer interested in capturing globalization. Further than globalization, he is engaged in finding civilization's shifts accross social phenomenons. In the serie Small World (1995) Parr shows a globalized consumption society: tourism. Tourism is the first global industry just before oil. Through these clichés he raised a manifesto between the myth people bring in mind when visiting touristic poles and the reality they discover. Phone Book is also a manifesto of an interconnected global world. This serie features people phoning with what is considered now as antique cellular phones. It is a basic concept extended to the entire world as a flux.
Parr is a collectionner more than a photographer. Photography is only an easy way to collect the Signs of the Times: interior's photographs exhibited across motorways, political figures that live the public scene by leaving a trace upon the present. It is where Parr's work takes all its sense. He is an archeologist collectioning, putting in echo, repertoring, classifying present myths to create a stoned way by wich future generations will be able to come back to understand a segment of human history.
Recently, Parr accepted a command from the Barbès area in Paris. This area is knowed in Paris for welcoming the largest part of muslim community. Mediated by the extreme right in France using pictures of the community praying in the streets to communicate the message that they are occupying the France territory. It is terryfying to ear that, and not because the leader of this political group uses a term carrying an history that should be left to the past but because this people don't have any religious places to pray and against their integrity they do it on the ground of the streets. In my opinion I think it is beautiful, it shows a struggle of the belief and the soul against and I am glad Martin Parr thinks the same. The photographs will be presented very soon and I will post a article on it.

Aliénor Meyer.


Anonymous said...

La prochaine fois tu nous emmènes? Merci pour cet article très interesting. Servane

Aliénor M. said...

et RT par le Centre Pompidou lui même GRANDE FIERTE