....My studies in and ongoing passion for photography made this exhibition a must whilst I was in Newcastle. I own Martin Parr books and enjoy his unique take on (mostly) British society, but I would never say I am a lover of his work. But this show is more than that.
Spread over two floors, the first is entitled, 'Luxury', showcasing 40 recent works. Here, Parr is in familiar territory, capturing humour, even greed & the grotesque, in the unaware. Ruthlessly edited, with minimal descriptions, we can form our own opinions of the photographic subjects. And when some of those are attending the 'Millionaire Fair', particularly in such an economic climate, the sense of grotesque excess is only inflated.
The second half of the exhibition is a room full of photographs, books and other ephemera that belong to Parr. He is an obsessive collector and his photography collection amounts to one of the best photographic shows I have seen in some time. It showcases his influences, Lee Friedlander and Chris Killip through to contemporaries in Richard Billingham and Paul Graham. Essentially, it is also a collection of my favourite artists all in one room.
Surrounding all this are display cases of old and rare photographic books and catalogues, alongside even more random ephemera, such as a Saddam Hussein watch collection and a Maggie Thatcher teapot set.
Insanely bizarre, but compellingly brilliant. Very Martin Parr. I loved it.