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Martin Parr

Martin Parr is one of the most important documentary photographers of our time.

In 2019 the director of the IKS, Ralph Goertz, organizes and curates the first retrospective of the British photographer in Germany at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. For this exhibition, Martin Parr exclusively produces - in co-operation with Ralph Goertz - the series "small gardeners", which was photographed in various gardens associations in Krefeld and Düsseldorf in the summer of 2018.


Martin Parr Retrospective

NRW Forum Dusseldorf

18 July - 10 Nov. 2019

Curator: Ralph Goertz


Here are the first results from the shooting.


photo: Martin Parr with curator Ralph Goertz


The English photographer Martin Parr is considered one of the most important representatives of contemporary documentary photography. He is a chronicler of our time, scanning the world with his precise and loving eyes while holding up the mirror. His favorite motive is the human being in his everyday or self-chosen environment. Martin Parr's shots are often exaggerated, strange, shrill, colorful and sometimes grotesque. But in this view on the human being often lies the stunned, the desperate of a viewer, the world and especially the people who live in it, so unbridled, so distorted encounter. Relentless, but always paired with his typical English humor, he sheds the world in the most dazzling colors. Martin Parr takes his photos at favorite places of the people: the beach, the place of interest, the excursion destination. He is looking for places with extremes.



At the beginning of his career in the 1970s, he documented the closer environment of his homeland in high-contrast black and white. In the early 1980s, he used increasingly color, changed his style and changed from his 35mm 35mm camera to the new Plaubel 6x7 medium format camera. His project The Last Resort, which began in 1982 and was first published in 1986, documenting British beach life in New Brighton, is today regarded as a milestone in photography and made him known internationally. For the first time in the history of photography, his touching as well as often disturbing images show the everyday life of the British seaside resort in a new way. He decodes the concept of beauty and questions the beautiful in the ugly and the ugly in the beautiful. Stylistically, he supports his question by the use of a flashlight, which he also uses in daylight.



"When people are crying and laughing while looking at my pictures at the same time, that's exactly the same reaction the pictures evoke in me. Things are neither good nor bad. I'm always interested in representing both extremes."- Martin Parr



Martin Parr, who has belonged to the exclusive circle of the agency Magnum Photo since 1994, is a master of the discovery of relationships and social clichés and structures, with which he, for example, emphasizes consumer behavior or the often obscene self-presentation of man with the stylistic device of exaggeration.


The retrospective exhibition at NRW Forum Düsseldorf is - with more than 400 works - the most comprehensive retrospective of the British star photographer and covers his work in all its facets. In addition to works from his famous series such as The last Resort, Think of England, Luxury, Life's a Beach and Common Sense, the exhibition in Dusseldorf presents for the first time also early works of his debut series Bad Weather. The Martin Parr retrospective not only shows the photographer as a satirist, but also focuses on the photographic skills and the contemporary use of the medium of photography. Especially for the exhibition in the NRW-Forum Dusseldorf, the series Small Gardeners, which Martin Parr photographed in Greater Dusseldorf and in which he proves his class as a portrait photographer and chronicler.


all photos: Isabel Hernandez / Dirk Rose / Ralph Goertz © IKS-Medienarchiv

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