Martin Parr
[Photographer, b. 1952, Epson, Surrey, England, lives in Bristol and London, England.]

 Everyone is a photographer now, remember. That’s the great thing about photography. 
 When I first started learning how to take photographs, you had to spend the first six months figuring out what an f-stop was. Now you just go and take pictures. Nobody thinks about technical issues anymore because cameras or camera phones take care of that automatically. 
 I love playing the game of fashion photography without knowing what the rules are. 
 I am only photographing what is obvious, and part of my way of working is to tap into people’s prejudices, and depict all aspects of things happening in today’s society. I give people an opportunity to air their prejudices, and if they want to say the working class is scruffy and dirty, then the pictures exist to illustrate that thesis. 
 All types of photography are important. For me, vernacular photography is essential as it provides a record of a moment, of important events in peoples’ lives, whereas many documentary or artistic photos are produced for a specific purpose. There is an urgency in vernacular photography that you don’t necessarily feel in professional photography. 
 We are drowning in images. Photography is used as a propaganda tool, which serves to sell products and ideas. I use the same approach to show aspects of reality. 
 I looked around at what my colleagues were doing, and asked myself, “What relationship has it with what’s going on?” I found there was a great distortion of contemporary life. Photographers were interested only in certain things. A visually interesting place, people who were either very rich or very poor, and nostalgia. 
 I see things going on before my eyes and I photograph them as they are, without trying to change them. I don’t warn people beforehand. That’s why I’m a chronicler. I speak about us and I speak about myself. 
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