"Parr is a critic and a humorist, and his camera is his passport between the two." —Rogelio Villareal, editorial director, Replicante magazine
For much of his career, Martin Parr has excelled at skewering the eccentricities and peculiarities of contemporary national culture in his native Great Britain and beyond—in particular those having to do with food, tourism, bad fashion choices, and . . . more food. On an exploratory trip to Mexico, Parr was struck not only by the native culture, but also by the clear impact on Mexican life of America's pop culture and economy—the juxtaposition of Mickey Mouse with brightly colored saints, Nike logos with Day of the Dead skulls, and Coca Cola with cacti. This image, Tijuana, Mexico, 2003, is a close-up of a display selling skulls for Día de los Muertes that have been molded out of sugar and decorated with squiggles of neon icing; three misguided bees feed on the colorful sweets. The photograph echoes an image from Parr's earlier book Common Sense wherein a wasp gorges itself on a blob of jelly. Tijuana appears in Parr's book Mexico (Aperture, 2006), his journey into and beyond the country's clichés. In that book, we are in recognizable territory: many of the visual themes will be familiar to Parr fans, including colorful and mocking close-ups of food, hats, signs, and souvenirs, garishly shot with medical efficiency. This work both critiques and celebrates this corruption. As he puts it, "What I am saying is that it's a good and a bad thing. I'm constantly trying to express ambiguity. And that's what photography does very well."
Martin Parr (born in Epsom, England, 1952) is a key figure in the world of photography, recognized as a brilliant satirist of contemporary life. Author of over thirty photography books, including Common Sense, Our True Intent Is All for Your Delight, and Boring Postcards, his photographs have been collected by museums worldwide, including the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; New York’s Museum of Modern Art; and Tate Modern, London. His retrospective continues to tour major museums around the world since opening at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, in 2002 and he was featured in Cruel and Tender, the Tate Modern’s major survey of photography in 2003. Parr is a member of Magnum Photos.