Martin Parr Interview (mp3)

Via, a great interview with Martin Parr is making the rounds.

One of the weirdest parts is where he talks about a job Bruce Davidson lost to Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. I think he’s referring to this.

“All the boundaries are collapsing. One of the things that’s interesting about flickr, is that it’s probably emerged as the most intelligent photo-sharing site – it’s become the brand leader. And what will happen with flickr is that within five years it will start licensing pictures. In other words, they’ll be part of the Getty Corbis machinery…the agencies are concerned about this. It’s something we discuss at Magnum…”

“…within five years flickr will emerge as one of the major sources for licensing imagery…”

“…the other point about flickr, is I can’t tell you how bad the most of the pictures are. I mean, we see this in the site up there (at Musee de L’Elysee) the noise of this contemporary photography is relentless and ultimately, nullifyingly boring.”

“…we have this amazing interest, resurgence in photography, a renaissance, but boy do we have to wade through a lot of rubbish in order to get to anything half-decent.”

“…the best business model is to have fantastic pictures, that have a unique vision and say something different. And you get away from the turgid quantities of cliches and propaganda which we see not only surrounding our lives, but we also see in the exhibition here.”

“…I’m totally in favor of flickr. I haven’t spent enough time trawling through flickr to find the new stars who may be emerging on flickr itself…”

“… but the last thing I’m going to do – is looking at flickr for my stars of the future.”

“I come back to this individual voice in homogenized times. Connecting with a subject matter, doing it with passion, resolving a set of pictures, coming out with a personal statement – there’s always going to be room for that, because we still, whatever the process, whatever the method, we still need stories that touch us as human beings.”

Download: mp3


9 thoughts on “Martin Parr Interview (mp3)”

  1. “…the best business model is to have fantastic pictures”

    good stuff, and very true. interesting comments about flickr. it makes me wonder what type of opportunities are out there for editors. the one thing i’ve learned at HCSP is that a high number of photographers aren’t think skinned when it comes to editing…but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to make some sort of sense out of what’s out there.

    i’d be interested to see a post about the editing process as it relates to street photography. i know for me it’s becoming just as interesting as making the photographs…trying to find the gems in the steady stream of rubbish.



  2. BryanF: you’re so right, the editing process in street (or in most 35 mm or digital) photography is a creative practice as such. Winogrand, of course, comes to mind, but it applies also to us mere mortals that don’t have thousands of rolls to wade through.

  3. Editing is important. Funny thing about flickr is that you can easily fill up your stream with a lot of stuff. And many people dont do this, which is why they have thousands of shots in their stream, but every once in a while you need to take a hatchet to your stream and erase the rubbish. Something that I did lately was edit my stream from nearly 400 shots down to about 170…and boy did it feel good.

  4. I’ve noticed that in recent months it’s become MORE difficult to track-down some kinds of imagery on flickr w.r.t. the rights-licensing (e.g., “pics of Seattle at night that are free to use with attribution” etc). I expect a charge-able preferred-browsing service soon, perhaps quietly offered to regular customers of competing commercial agencies.

  5. BryanF has it about right…”trying to find the gems in the steady stream of rubbish” has become quite interesting. In fact, isn’t this what street photography is about too?

  6. I love to shoot and view street photography. But in many respects, it’s kind of played out. For me these days, I’d rather view the work as a cohesive project than one-offs. I just picked up Bruce Gilden’s A Beautiful Catastrophe, which is awesome NYC street stuff. Alone, the images would be cool, but as a package, it’s incredible. That said, I just developed a few rolls from last weekend and it all goes on the slag heap of crap street photos.

    Flickr is so of it’s time. It’s the iTunes store of photography, it’s all about singles, not albums (I still buy albums not singles, btw). Sampling different stuff here and there. I love it for what it is, and I appreciate the democratization of technology. But people’s posted comments shouldn’t be the new decider on what’s good or bad. Work still needs context I believe. There are some amazing photographers on there, but also an overwhelming amount of crap. You need your 21st century media filter at maximum effectiveness to find the good stuff.

  7. We need something akin to DJ:s in the social photoweb that is flickr/photoblogs; for cool street photography off flickr/photoblogs you go to editor A:s blog, for high quality b&w LF portraiture, go to editor X:s blog and so on.

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