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

 Find something you are passionate about and shoot your way through this obsession with elegance and you will have a potentially great project. 
 When a mother takes pictures of her children on the beach, she doesn’t take herself for an artist; she does it for love, which is an excellent reason, from my point of view. 
 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. 
 It is part of my agenda to take photos that can fit into all the outlets for photography, from the gallery wall to the magazine or newspaper page. That, to me, is using photography at its best. 
 I go straight in very close to people and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. 
 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. 
 I went for an interview at colleges in Manchester and Derby and I was enormously impressed by people doing these creative photography courses. I was impressed by people smoking in the darkroom—the idea of having your own darkroom and being able to smoke in it, I just thought was absolutely fantastic. 
 Get out there and do it. If it’s good it will be seen. There is no such thing as a brilliant new contemporary photographer who is undiscovered. 
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