Visual Arts

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2016

One of the biggest art events of the year is also one of the most accessible art exhibitions. Running until 21st August, this year’s Summer Exhibition is definitely worth a visit. The art world is often seen as impenetrable, pompous and downright confusing. The plethora of exhibitions and events that run every year often prove […]

A sketchy situation

Joanne Archer investigates the prohibition of sketching in art galleries. Upon visiting an art gallery or museum, you would not be surprised to come across a ‘no photography’ sign, a widely accepted, but not always followed, symbol of a flashing camera that indicates guests might just be shot at if they dare so much as […]

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

Ever wondered how life began for the fashion icon and infamous actress, Audrey Hepburn? From her traumatic upbringing in the German-occupied Netherlands to her overwhelming success in Hollywood and inspirational outreach work, get up-close and personal with some rarely seen photographs and prints donated by her family. This wonderful exhibition has been on at the […]

A Cultural Summer in the City

Having a cultured summer shouldn’t entail breaking the bank. This summer has ample opportunities to get cultured for little to no money, all while still having fun! If you are looking for the perfect outdoor cinema experience this summer, Film4’s Summer Screen returns from the 6th to the 19th of August with an array of […]

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Savage Beauty, the exhibition celebrating the creations of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen, originally opened in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011, just a year after the designer’s high profile suicide. Now it has made the trip across the pond, and is currently occupying the V&A until August 2nd. The exhibition […]

The feminist behind the flash

Feminism as an ideology has snaked throughout all elements of the media, all the more prominently in the last couple of years. I use the word ideology, as Feminism unfortunately does not yet hold a quintessential place within modern societal norms. Photography as one of these media outlets, and one very close to my heart, […]

Anselm Kiefer and the Pornography of Art

It doesn’t take much stimulus for me to assimilate a passion about art, whether I’m revelling or critiquing, given the material I will go on until I’ve either inspired someone or angered them. It was only the other week that I found myself in a heated (and drunken admittedly) discussion with an older friend over […]

Cheap Day in London

Yes, Egham is a little further out than the average London University. You probably felt vaguely cheated when you realised that the “short trip into central London!” turned out not to include the time needed to trudge to the station, barge your way through Waterloo, and submerge yourself on the underground. So here’s a list of […]

An Interview with Martin Parr

“It is estimated that more photographic images have been taken in the past twelve months than in the entire history of photography.” – Hannah Redler, Head of Media Space at the Science Museum.

His new exhibition ‘Only in England’ displays his own early work from the 1970’s, ‘The Non Conformists’ alongside many of Ray-Jones photographs, some never before seen, picked by Parr himself to be displayed. This exhibition gives great insight into what life was really like in an arguably bleak England for many in the 1960’s and 70’s and projects a desire to document what both Ray Jones and Parr saw as disappearing way of life in England. Both photographers are cleverly able to make ordinary and somewhat bleak situations interesting and surprisingly funny in their photographs. Though Ray Jones’ fears about increasing Americanisation in England remains valid today, at least we Brits can proudly say that we still firmly believe that the weather will remain awful for the majority of the year, our humour is still wry, dry and sarcastic but most importantly we still have the faith that tea really will solve everything!

While studying at Manchester Polytechnic, were you independently exploring the work of many different photographers? How did you initially respond to Tony Ray Jones’s work?

Back in those days they didn’t show you much to work from and we were learning purely by default. These were the 1970s; it was a different era and we didn’t really have formal studies, it was more practical based. Tony Ray Jones’ work struck a chord and I immediately liked it and got excited by it. [He mentions Ray Jones’ time in America, his street art and how this was a first for British photography]

Your photographs in the exhibition differ from your recognizably bright, saturated, coloured photographs. Have you considered going back to photographing in black and white?

Once I’d moved to colour I never went back! Back in those days black and white is all we had. If you were a serious photographer you were obliged to photograph in it because colour was the reign of snapshot photography and commercial photography.
Documenting British eccentricities and a disappearing way of life in England is an evident theme of the exhibition. Which of the following English social customs would you be disappointed to lose: thinking and hoping that tea will fix everything; Conversations about weather; sarcasm/wry humour; queuing.

[He laughs] Most of what you’re saying there is less to do with what I photograph and more to do with what I really like. I wouldn’t want to lose any of them!

We are living in a time when anyone is able to label themselves as an amateur photographer, instagram becoming incredibly popular; what sort of photography really grabs your attention now?

I am more excited by new photographers, the ones who are emerging and doing different, interesting and exciting new things.

Martin, honestly, have you ever taken a “selfie”?

Generally, no I don’t.

Article by Zara Jasmine

Photograph: wikimedia.com

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