Martin Parr
[Photographer, b. 1952, Epson, Surrey, England, lives in Bristol and London, England.]

 Everyone is a photographer now, remember. That’s the great thing about photography. 
 When I first started learning how to take photographs, you had to spend the first six months figuring out what an f-stop was. Now you just go and take pictures. Nobody thinks about technical issues anymore because cameras or camera phones take care of that automatically. 
 I try to photograph my own and society’s hypocrisy. 
 I looked around at what my colleagues were doing, and asked myself, “What relationship has it with what’s going on?” I found there was a great distortion of contemporary life. Photographers were interested only in certain things. A visually interesting place, people who were either very rich or very poor, and nostalgia. 
 I see things going on before my eyes and I photograph them as they are, without trying to change them. I don’t warn people beforehand. That’s why I’m a chronicler. I speak about us and I speak about myself. 
 My photography is an observation of the western world’s middle classes and their endless quest for material abundance. 
 I go straight in very close to people and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. 
 I am only photographing what is obvious, and part of my way of working is to tap into people’s prejudices, and depict all aspects of things happening in today’s society. I give people an opportunity to air their prejudices, and if they want to say the working class is scruffy and dirty, then the pictures exist to illustrate that thesis. 
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