© Martin Parr
Martin Parr, British, b. 1952
Title: Glenbeigh Races, County Kerry from the series 'A Fair Day', 1983
Date: 2019
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Image: 30.5 x 40.6 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2019
Object Number: NGI.2019.92
DescriptionBritish photographer Martin Parr lived in Boyle, Roscommon from 1980 and 1983. During this time, he photographed the daily life of Roscommon and a number of other counties around Ireland with a satirical eye and eventually selected 74 works to form his third book, A Fair Day, to which this photograph belongs. Parr records a portrait of a society caught between the past and the twentieth century. The photographs in this series show a place and a people teetering precariously between tradition and modernity, as they move from agrarian life to a new, brasher consumerism. At the time, the A Fair Day may have seemed a rebuke to the sentimentalised view of the west of Ireland that dominated official discourse. The photographs that make up this book are marked by an air of subtle humour and adaptation of what Cartier-Bresson coined as the “decisive moment”. When he took these photographs in the west of Ireland in the early 1980s he was still working in the preferred “art photography” mode of black and white. In later years, he deployed heightened, often garish colours and unusual perspectives to sceptically counter what he calls the “propaganda” of most published images.
ProvenanceMartin Parr Foundation, UK; purchased, the Photographers' Gallery, London, UK, 2019