I love you, Martin Parr.
It’s easy to get old and crotchety and cynical when you’re a. actually rather comparatively old (because you spend most of your time on a college campus and the rest of your time student teaching in an elementary school) and/or b. running on very little sleep and surrounded by peppy kids who think they’ve got these amazing, transgressive, fresh artistic ideas, but you’re too tired to be anything but a surly postmodernist. I recently came across this post by Martin Parr on photographic clichés and it hammered home for me why I love this man and why I find myself so frequently wanting to poke out my own eyeballs when I look at the photographic work that is supposed to be super-cool and interesting today. If you can’t be bothered to click on things, Parr basically states that our magical field is becoming predictable (and even tosses himself in among the guilty) and mentions the new tropes pervading photography, from format – formal portraiture (“smiling is banned… a tripod is also a prerequisite for this method of shooting.”) and long landscapes – to tone, “I am a poet”, etc.
The point is, Martin Parr can do whatever he wants because he is funny (and I happen to love his work, but that isn’t the point). You can hate his work, hate his face, hate Magnum, British people, ring flashes, and every man ever named Martin, but you can’t refute that he’s RIGHT about this.
So let’s look at some of his nice pictures of very rich people in Switzerland, shall we?