San Diego, CA—The World Photography Organization (WPO) announced British documentary photographer Martin Parr as the recipient of its Outstanding Contribution to Photography title. Parr will be recognized at the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards ceremony held in London on April 20, 2017.
To coincide with the awards, a specially curated exhibition of rarely seen black-and-white images from Parr’s early career will be presented at Somerset House, London. Some of his most talked about works, books and films will be included in the exhibit.
Parr’s work will be on show for a limited run from April 21 to May 7, 2017.
In addition, the photographer will give a public talk at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. The talk will be held on April 21. Tickets are on sale at worldphoto.org/2017exhibition.
In a career spanning more than 40 years and often focusing on themes of leisure, consumption and communication, Parr’s ambiguous vision of the world has led audiences worldwide to find drama in the every day, noted the WPO. By recording in minute detail the world as he sees it in, Parr’s frank reflection of national characteristics and international phenomena has pioneered a new tone in documentary photography.
“Martin Parr’s work has transcended all the usual boundaries of photography. It has also shown that the medium is a hugely powerful means of communication,” said Scott Gray, CEO, World Photography Organization. “As an artist, Parr has created a unique visual language that is deeply serious. But its inherent humor has ensured that his work has an almost global understanding.
“Great integrity and commitment to the medium of photography is the common thread that links each of our previous Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award recipients. These are qualities that Martin Parr has consistently displayed throughout his career. And it is why we are proud to present him this title in the 10th anniversary of the Sony World Photography Awards.”
Previous recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography title include Mary Ellen Mark, Eve Arnold, Bruce Davidson and Elliott Erwitt.
Born in 1952 in Epsom, Surrey, Parr was inspired to take up photography as a teenager by his grandfather. Black-and-white photography characterized his early work. Furthermore, his move to the strong use of color photography in the 1980s, for which he has become synonymous, was prompted by photographers such as Stephan Shore, William Eggleston, Peter Fraser and Joel Meyerowitz.
Forcing the viewer to look again at the familiar, Parr has faced accusations of mocking those he has photographed.
The Last Resort (1985) is widely acknowledged as his breakthrough show. He has since become an inspiration for a generation of younger photographers. Parr is also a prolific collector of photography books and has written a large number himself.
In addition, Parr has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1988. He was voted president of Magnum Photos International in 2014.
2017 Sony WPO Awards & Martin Parr Exhibition
Curated by Zelda Cheatle, three rooms at the prestigious Somerset House, London, will be dedicated to the photographs, books as well as films of Martin Parr as part of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition.
The rooms will begin with a selection of rarely seen images from Parr’s Abandoned Morris Minors series. The series was shot in the West Coast of Ireland between 1980 and 1983. Original posters for the first exhibition of this work will also be on show. In will be contrasted with some of Parr’s best-loved images that focus on global tourism.
“It is a great honor to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Photography title. Especially knowing the illustrious previous recipients such as William Klein and William Eggleston,” said Parr. “It is also very reassuring to see the World Photography Organization and Sony’s continuing support for all aspects of contemporary photography, through this exhibition and this season of awards.” worldphoto.org and sony.com