Documentary photographer, photojournalist, chronicler and even a photobook collector, Parr has engaged himself to depict the world with both humour and critical reflections. His works are not simply entertaining or sarcastic images from modern life, but also an intimate and anthropological access to the Western world, an investigation of human interaction, how people display their values, seen from Parr’s unusual perspective. That unusual perspective is often presented through ordinary life, yet odd; motifs and gaudy colour schemes, conceptualising Parr’s particular interest in the subjects of leisure, consumption and communication. Parr then delves into national characteristics and global phenomena through these subjects as to look closely how valid they are as symbols.
His photographs put in different contexts, such as in exhibitions, art books, advertising and journalism, lead the audience to discover the things that have seemed familiar to them, in a new way, and allowed the different types of photography to be integrated.
As a member of Magnum Photos since 1994, Parr’s works have resulted in more than 100 books and publications, and around 80 exhibitions worldwide. The characteristic humour in Parr’s work is not about watching other people and being amused, but rather about laughing at ourselves with self-recognition in universal situations and empathy.