Magnum Photographer Martin Parr Offers Young Photographers Great Advice

Magnum Photographer Martin Parr is one of the most respected living photographers of our time not only for his documentary work, but also for his particular style. A few years ago, he spoke to a number of students about photography, and the advice that he gave them still holds up.

In fact, Martin says that a lot of what he takes photos of “is crap.”

When he goes through all of his crappy photos, he eventually finds the great ones amongst all the terrible ones. With that said, Martin believes that photographers need to keep shooting.

Martin states that making a connection with a subject to create vitality and meaning. Not only that, but he says that we as photographers need to go beyond what people have done before–which eventually becomes generic.

Martin’s advice is absolutely true and unfortunately a lot of people don’t understand that documentary, street photography, and portraiture all require some sort of connection between the photographer and the subject to really make it work. What Martin is really getting at here though is a basic human skill: people skills. It requires conversations, interactions, etc. But what it also requires is the skill to actually get the shot: which Martin says is so incredibly simple these days that it’s almost impossible to really miss a shot. Of course, he’s far more experienced than many other photographers.