90s Household Scenes In Martin Parr’s Photography

Martin Parr‘s photography is realistic, still, impactful and a bit cheeky. He doesn’t try to evoke remote scenery or deep artistic connections in his photos, he just depicts what he sees through his camera lens. Parr takes photos of everyday scenes, capturing people going about their business. What makes his photographs compelling is the choice of perspective, a simplicity of composition that actually hides life’s complexity, and the colours he chooses to highlight.

He is a chronicler of our times and his talent is to show us everyday scenes from a totally new angle. His photographic skills are now on show at the Beetles+Huxley gallery in the Signs of the Times exhibition (organised in collaboration with the Rocket Gallery).

This uses visual material taken from a BBC documentary aired in the early 90s, called Signs of the Times, on which Parr collaborated. It was an early version of reality television, documenting the personal tastes of people in the British home during that period. A TV call for volunteers prompted over 2,000 responses, but only 50 were chosen to be featured. Parr was the stills photographer during the shooting of the documentary, hence the photographic collection on display now.

The photographs show home interiors, people posing in their living rooms and small details of furniture in-situ. We get a sense of oppression and of the boring routine inherent in these ordinary scenes. One common motif is a life trapped in the ‘normality’ of a domestic environment. Each photograph’s title is a quote from someone featured in the documentary. The series is featured for the first time as a solo exhibition in London.

Martin Parr, Signs of the Times is on display until 30 August at Beetles+Huxley gallery, 3-5 Swallow Street, W1B 4DE. Entrance is free. For more art events this month, see our July art listing.

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Article by Silvia Baretta | 109 Articles | View Profile