Think of England

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Phaidon, Sep 20, 2000 - Photography - 133 pages
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Think Of England... the title is a dead giveaway. Parr is describing an England that is in the mind. The England of floral dresses, suburban lawns and seaside sauciness. Every tourist's view of England. Safe, chintzy middle-class or jolly yeoman working-class England with at least one foot in the past. You will look in vain here for grey, wet skies, inner-city problems, genetically modified countryside or an England which is as ruthlessly commercial or as much of a cultural melting pot as the United States. For Parr's England is a fiction, an idea of England. Perhaps an idea of an idea of England. Martin Parr, a thoroughly contemporary artist, is critiquing representation. It can't possibly be true, can it? It's so colourful for a start. One does not readily associate Day-Glo colours with England, except on chocolate boxes or English Tourist Board posters, but that's part of the point.
Ideas about England emanate from society, are filtered back into society and play their part in shaping society. Ideas, conceptions - and misconceptions - are acted upon. Cliche becomes part of the wider truth, part of the contemporary scene and not just nostalgic irrelevance.

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About the author (2000)

Martin Parr has worked on numerous photographic projects and developed an international reputation for his innovative imagery, his oblique approach to social documentary, and his input to photographic culture within the UK and abroad. In 1994 he joined Magnum Photo Agency. In 2002 a large retrospective was initiated by the Barbican Art and is touring internationally through to 2008.

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