Martin Parr: Think of England (book)

(Images taken from Thinking of England (2000) book)

Previously I discussed Martin Parrs Think of England (2000) in terms of the documentary film he made where he spoke to people in different areas of England, to see what they thought defined the English/British. I am now interested in looking at this project in its book form.

The book only contains photographs from Parr’s document of English identity, and is a very different experience from viewing the film. What I find so inspiring from the images is Parrs attention to detail, and the vibrancy of the film he used. It’s also fascinating to see the kind of objects and people Parr wanted to focus on, showing his opinion of what he thinks defines the English identity. Unlike the documentary film, the book feels more personal, and more of Parr’s own views and thoughts, rather than asking others what they think. The film was very much focussed on the publics thought and views on the English, whereas the book seems to be Parr’s.

When thinking of my own work I would like to pick up on details, but in car culture rather than English. I want to pick up on specific areas of cars which would influence people’s decision to give them a feminine/male name. As Parr, did, I will be speaking with the owners to get their answer’s to why they name their car, and then I will also display my own opinion through my photographs. Not everyone will have an in-depth reason for naming their car, or even know themselves why, but through my photography maybe I can shed some light on this.

It was fascinating to see Think of England in both book form and as a documentary film piece. Being able to both hear people talking about the English and looking at Parr’s photography work you can get an idea of what his influences were.

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