Take a Peek Inside the Martin Parr Foundation in this Tate Short Film

Martin Parr shows us around the foundation he built in Bristol and tells us about his dedication to British documentary photography.

Martin Parr and his foundation may have their attention focused on British photographers and images shot in the British islands, but there’s no doubt that he remains an influential figure among international street photographers. In a short video by Tate from 2017, we get to take a peek inside the then newly-opened Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, with a tour from the iconic documentary photographer himself.

As he introduces the foundation, Parr tells viewers why it was only proper for him to establish it in Bristol, the city is his hometown and an upcoming town in terms of cultural activities. The short film definitely shows us what makes it a great destination for street and documentary photographers who plan to visit this part of the UK: shows by Parr and other documentary photographers, a library of photo books by British and Irish photographers, events, and those who are lucky might even have a chance to chat with Parr as well.

The video is also inspiring for photographers who believe in the power of photos in printed form. The foundation is a treasure trove of prints not only from the archive of Parr but also of shows by noteworthy photographers. That said, his team making beautiful large archival prints and reprints of his colorful photos is certainly a joy to watch.

Lastly, it’s always interesting and inspiring to hear what photography greats like Parr have to say about their work and the craft of documentary photography itself, and it never goes missing in videos like this. “I’ve been photographing the English for about 40 years now and I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the country that I’m from. And part of the process of being a photographer is it’s a form of therapy where you can almost experience these two extremes.”

For those of you who don’t know yet, the Martin Parr Foundation also has a video series titled Sofa Sessions, where he sits with fellow photographers to talk about their work and other photography topics. The latest of these is an episode with Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden.


Screenshot image from the video by Tate