HUELVA, Spain – Acclaimed British photographer Martin Parr’s traveling exhibition “Life’s a Beach” opened to the public on Tuesday at the International Photography Festival Latitudes 21 in Spain’s southwestern coastal town of Huelva.
The exhibition was inaugurated late Monday by Parr and Magnum representative Emmanuelle Hascoet, and condenses the photographer’s unique mastery by conjuring a vision of the contemporary world depicting globalized tourism practices.
“With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality,” Parr said. “I try and do this by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving this a twist.”
Since 1994, Martin Parr is a full member of the renowned Magnum photography agency and its president between 2013-2017, the same year he established a foundation bearing his name.
He deals with his subject in a humorous manner, not lacking tenderness, after years carting his equipment across sandy beaches as far away as Brazil, Japan, Great Britain, Spain or Australia.
“A retrospective that is exhibited in the framework of Latitudes with the best of Martin Parr, the British photographer of the Magnum Agency, who surprises with absurd moments and immerses the viewer in the rituals and traditions related to life on the beach,” the exhibition center run by Caja Rural del Sur said.
Parr presents an alternative reality through his lens, a close-up-and-personal parade of swimmers, sunbathers, belly-floppers or beach picnics always focused on the human side of life, the rituals, and customs of beach-goers worldwide: Brazil’s brief bathing costumes, Mexico’s coastal natural reserves or drinking Mate infusions in Uruguay.
He also captures the perennial beach traders hawking wares and services: from roaming beach ear-cleaners in Goa, India, to Chilean beach-sellers of roasted fish or China’s noodle-pan beach caterers.
He has directed photography festivals such as Arles (2004,) the Brighton Biennale (2010) and was the curator for the London Barbican’s 2016 “Strange and Familiar’ exhibition project, showcasing a vibrant portrait of Modern Britain.
Spain’s PhotoEspaña, 2008, awarded Parr for his lifelong professional career and his contribution to contemporary photography.
Parr’s images are present in top museums such as London’s Tate Gallery, the Paris’ Pompidou Museum or New York’s MOMA.
“Life’s a Beach” will remain open until March 2 at Huelva’s Fundacion Caja Rural del Sur exhibition hall.