Fuck Martin Parr: Photography and the Cultural Ideology of Englishness

RND/ To consider the philosophical-artistic statement “Fuck Martin Parr.”

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“Fuck Martin Parr.”

Artistic Statement Concerning The Feeling That Martin Parr Photography is in fact Cruel and Shit

The following statement is for those searching the net for a handy, comprehensive statement about what exactly feels so hateful about Martin Parr’s tyrannical photo-aesthetic and approach:

“Fuck Martin Parr, his fat gloating boiled cabbage head and his phony, violently overrated, piss ugly mobile-phone style holiday wedding snaps. Deathly dull, depressing and shite, their silently founded on an ultra-cynical and deliberate misreading of the world. They remotely imagine they can (and must, at any cost) maintain ‘objective’ and ‘artistic’ distance from ‘their’ subject, when in fact they simply and merely hate what is seen.

The images Martin Parr takes do not belong to him. He just consumes them whole, hunting out what he parasitically senses is their existential vulnerability – that is, a vulnerability to his exacting, coldly dissecting artist’s gaze. Consider Martin Parr a psychic vampire, a leering ghoul in search of victims he silently considers beneath him and his photographic fucking expertise.

There’s a dark violence to such images. They expresses a disservice, schadenfreude – a conceited, pompous, self-contented white male gaze which arrives with an extreme casual offhandedness and studied nonchalance. It’s like Martin Parr has a pair of car battery clips attached to his shriveled vampire nuts while taking photos – taking, in the strict sense of stealing away. Sucking dry. And when the shutter goes *click* and he’s successfully shot another subject square in the face, a delicious gruesome shudder appears on his horrible, wire thin witch lips – a knife wound in the side of stale, bloodless pork.

‘Parr’s wry observations of Britishness’ can also fuck right off. They’re only ‘wry’ as in droll, mocking, warped, contorted and drastically uneven. A distinct unequal power dynamic is at play in the images he hordes. Parr towers over his subject matter, psychologically framing what he thinks and wants to see within his artful prison. An exploitative worldview.

For Parr and others of his ilk, the camera is a glorified weapon of the spirit, a cruel and soulless conceptual microscope to stare down at his subject matter, pinned with his beady eyeballs. His nasty, sarcastic little old man gaze instantly and religiously reduces people to quirky PG Tips chimp adverts for instant, mindless consumption. Were you to realize that Martin Parr’s unfeeling corpse stands behind his images, sniggering inwardly at how apparently ‘funny’ (Parr’s term) you and your aspirations are, you’d unceremoniously punch him in the neck, Dennis Leary style. The next time you see him hunched over his little (probably expensive) camera, best be on the safe side; tell him to politely go fuck himself.

It’s telling that the piss weasels who thoroughly enjoy Martin Parr photos are STC’s (Smug Tory Cunts) on both pseudo-sides of the political shit spectrum. Both the tossers from The Guardian and Torygraph Scum always rate Parr’s shit. They really love what he’s doing, and get deep into it’s ugly spirit with hand rubbing glee. What they readily and deliberately mistake for the seeming ‘kitsch vulgarity’ of Parr’s Subject Matter is simply the exact same projection of snide socio-cultural prejudices. A convenient and essential barrier against the great unwashed – against the merest possibility of class based cross contamination.

It’s as though nobody reminded Parr that the idea is to rise with one’s working class, not above it. And yet, one one repeatedly hears that, simply because Parr’s taken a few images of some rich white posh lizards, this somehow instantly absolves him of ideological class snobbery. Does it bollocks. What Parr expresses via his photography is just as bad, if not worse. It’s the calculated ivory tower snobbery of The Modern Art World, which as everyone with a fully functioning brain rightly suspects is one colossal fucking scam. A massively dysfunctional, self sustaining pathology mechanism for selling crude dumb (ultra-refined) shit to rich fuckwits with a taste for nothing but their own inherent ugliness. The whole sorry thing is contemptible and generally beneath human dignity – much like Parr’s undead body of work. In this way, Parr can safely play (/on) both sides of the class fence.

What is truly ordinary and stupid about Parr, lies precisely in the fact he does not in any way genuinely record what is truly grotesque about the everyday poverty of the lives of those standing unaware in judgement before him. His image-manifested theory of ‘everydayness’ only ever helps himself; he has no real relationship with his subjects. Parr can never join in directly with what he sees, because his bullshit internal self image of ‘man-as-great-artist’ (ie. media shark) prevents him from directly confronting the daily sadness and joy of another.

This suits Parr down to the ground, surrounded as he wants to be with his faintly sociopathic photos and unctuous sycophantic Modern Art World cronies, their tongues continually up his arse, telling him how wonderful and endlessly ‘witty’ he is. A Martin Parr photograph in a white washed gallery wall is simply a gross art-fart in your face that pongs of money and privilege – a presumptuous and falsely meek display of, and by those fully inside The Art Fortress. It’s all so very cool – the condescending anthropology of dead anthropologists, merely chronicling their own failures as human beings without genuine social conscience. And yet, despite being entirely contrived, Martin Parr would have us believe his images appear and arrive free of any artifice. Do they endlessly-self-promoting hell.

Ironically, what’s precisely (and only) ‘British’ about Martin Parr’s photography is it’s psychotic, pathetic obsessiveness with some mythic bullshit sense of ‘Britishness’, which for Parr is apparently permanent, unalterable, and eternal. A forever shining plastic star in and of the Eternal Faded West – a combined Madame Tussaud’s wax museum exhibit and distorting funhouse mirror in which pink vaseline is continually, conveniently smeared over the present, precisely in order to prevent real change. This bizarre orientalism by Parr regarding what he imagines as (and therefore projects as images of) ‘British Culture’, precisely reflects the pathological monetary needs of the modern UK Culture Industry, which only exists to sell shit like Parr to idiots easily impressed by their own apparent ‘English Quirkyness’. A patronizing, Conservative crock.

Martin Parr is the photographic equivalent of tossers who ‘enjoy’ leering at those who enjoy Love Island with a smarmy ironic distance. Not that Love Island isn’t actually bollocks – but for uncritical Parr-droids, such images are the very means by which they’re able to control and maintain separated from what they think they see; yet what’s before them is only ever merely their own false idea of ‘British Culture’. The same thing goes for crap overrated bowl-haired poet Simon Fucking Armitage, who entirely fits the perfect profile and ticks all the relevant idiot boxes of “English Cultural Ideals Of Englishness.” Whatever the hell they are.

Such ideals however are often not remotely those of the poor sods who have to put up with daily so-called life on such a backwater Brexit infected island, but of those shit lords whose greasy little job is to generate, control and colonize the collective imagination with such infectious images. Martin Parr is merely the symptom of a widespread artistic bowel complaint called Culture, not some righteous chronicler of ‘Our’ Great Fucking Nation.

The only thing Martin Parr successfully documents, is the precise degree to which his own artistic distance from his subjects marks him out as a total Arthole. Yet for him, it’s a matter of ‘telling us about daily life’. Telling who, exactly? Parr’s images are firmly those of a toxic institution called Culture – of a private, elite conversation it’s (subjugated) subjects were never truly a part of, except as raw material for Martin’s dark photographic mill. If there’s any interest in or generated by the daily as-lived lives of those he snapshots, it’s only by proxy and by accident – a mere side effect. Parr himself appears only truly interested in taking cheap shots, maintaining his own self-misperceived cultural importance.

I just show things as I find them
– Yeah right, Martin Fucking Parr.

There’s a emotionless methodology to the way he entirely fails to mention and discuss the social *meaning* and importance of those he portrays – of those he coldly captures and contains with his crass conceptual lens. It’s all just about ‘documentation’ and ‘archiving’ – and never once about helping or improving. There’s no genuine sense that he’s truly part of the multiple communities he creeps about it. Martin Parr is a fucking Class Tourist with the artistic means and studied Cultural willingness to entirely forgo the trouble and mess of real, actual engagement with other humans. A parasitic grifter. Better to just snap em’ up, and move on to the next slick assignment. It’s all very unsympathetically Artful. Martin Parr’s photography is a thin Humanistic veneer – a shallow English Culture Industry scam masquerading as ‘important social commentary.’ Yet only statement it clearly makes is that Martin Parr is just a smug, pseudo-satirical Tory tosser. “Fuck Martin Parr.”

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3 thoughts on “Fuck Martin Parr: Photography and the Cultural Ideology of Englishness”

  1. Hi Anthony. There does seem to be a distinctly cruel element behind Mr. Parr’s work, appealing directly to the reactionary, schadenfreude filled eye of his fans. Rather then critical philosophical reflection on his subjects, smug contempt if not outright disgust informs everything he lays his horrible little eyes on.

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

  2. couldn’t agree more , patronising (at best) imagery, fundamentally and essentially objective to the degree that whatever he points his camera towards is essentially what disgusts him and amuses his patrons

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