Martin Parr ‘Signs of the Times: a portrait of the nation’s tastes’ (book)

(Photographs from the book Martin Parr Signs of the Times (1992))

Another series of work by Martin Parr which I have found interesting was Signs of the Times which, much like Think of England began as a documentary television series produced with the BBC. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch the series which coincides with the book, but have only seen a short two minute clip of it.

Not all of the people who were in the documentary were photographed by Parr, he selected the most interesting, to him. These photographs are presented in the book along with a short dialogue from the owners of the house he’s photographing. To let someone into your home and photograph it, or film in it seems very personal, as your home tends to be a private place for you to rest away from the eyes of the public. However these homes which were part of Signs of the Times have been seen by many, many people who are likely to be judging them for their choices.

Compared to Think of EnglandSigns of the Times has much softer and warm tones, whereas Think of England was very saturated and harsh. In my own photography work I will be looking at a tone similar to Signs of the Times as I don’t want the colours of the cars to be too harsh. I want to try and keep the colour as true to what it is in real life as possible. In a way homes and cars can be see in a similar way, they are both choices which seem to reflect on our personalities. For some people, their car is their home, where they choose to live rather than a permanent residence.

Once again I have found Martin Parrs work very interesting, if I were to carry this project on further it would be very tempting to make a documentary film as well as my photographic work.


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