In ‘Return to Manchester’, a major exhibition currently showing at Manchester Art Gallery, acclaimed British documentary photographer Martin Parr reveals a portrait of a rapidly changing urban landscape. I was lucky enough to catch him in conversation with Manchester Art Gallery’s Senior Curator Natasha Howes, an event to mark the opening of the exhibition that runs until April 2019.
The career-spanning exhibition includes Parr’s earliest work from his student days at Manchester Polytechnic, photographs of Prestwich Mental Hospital in 1972, Yates’s Wine Lodge in the early 80’s amongst many other projects. His latest Manchester images, a commissioned body of work by the gallery, was created in 2018 to bring the story up to the current day.
Martin Parr is one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation. With over 100 books published, and dozens more edited by him, his photographic legacy is already assured. Parr has been a member of the Magnum agency since 1994 and was President from 2013 – 2017. His work has been collected by many of major museums including the Tate, the Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has created the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, to preserve the legacy of his and other photographer’s work focused on the British Isles. Parr gladly accepts commissions from the likes of Gucci to further fund the foundation.
Return to Manchester chronicles a diversity and growth of a city from northern postwar Britain to today’s consumer-driven culture, it reveals people’s passions, skills, relationships, religions, quirks in everyday environments – a celebration of the city I grew up in and that I remember even more vividly through the images on show.
Martin Parr and The Martin Parr Foundation.