I have previously referenced the work of Martin Parr earlier on my blog, but was advised by my tutor to look especially at his collection called ‘The Last Resort’. I had a substantial lack of confidence for my latest assignment and chose to avoid photographing people where possible – something I am fully aware I need to overcome. As my tutor Robert pointed out – we are all entitled to photograph the world around us, and at times may need to seek permission, but photographing people both aware and unaware is something I need to become much more confident with.
What I learnt instantly from looking at ‘The Last Resort’ is just how confident Parr is when photographing his subjects. He manages to capture such raw and intimate moments in time.
His collection can be viewed here:
There’s very little in the way of preparation with this collection. No one is posed or positioned in order to create a more aesthetic composition. There’s no second chance, or chance to recreate a certain shot. What is also apparent is that Parr is up close and personal, rather than relying on/hiding behind a zoom lens. Parr’s ability to capture expressions and gestures are purely a combination of his impeccable timing, his eye for detail and most importantly, his confidence behind the camera.
What captivated me the most about this collection is the glaring irony.
‘New Brighton is a seaside resort on the Wirral Peninsula, three miles from Liverpool. Originally a watering place for the wealthy merchants of Liverpool, New Brighton hit the peak of its popularity in the first two decades of this century. The tower, built in 1897, was actually higher than Blackpool’s but had to be demolished after the First World War due to the neglect. New Brighton’s decline was accelerated in the 1960’s when most of the sand disappeared because of the tidal changes in the River Mersey. This was consolidated by the closure of the ferry service to Liverpool (1971) and the demolition of the pier (1978).
Despite this, some notable features remain: the Lido outdoor swimming pool, built in 1934, is one of the largest in Europe. There is also a fine promenade and ‘The Palace’ amusement park.
Today’s visitors to New Brighton are day-trippers from Liverpool and the Wirral. A hot summer day can still draw large crowds. Martin photographs document contemporary New Brighton: and urban seaside resort, run down, but very much alive.’
This resort used to be frequented by the wealthy, but slowly spiralled into a decline – which is very much apparent in this series. People had gone on day trips and vacations to this destination, yet the feeling of disrepair or some sort of disconnect is very much apparent. The litter scattered amongst groups of sunbathers, the crying children, the bored parents and the elderly couples sitting in silence. What a captivating collection. This really has given me the drive to photograph the public….