Master of Photography 2023

Whitchurch Country Show, Dorset, England, 2022. Courtesy of Martin Parr and Magnum Photos.

Photo London’s Master of Photography for 2023 is legendary British photographer Martin Parr.

It’s well known that Martin Parr’s creative output is unflagging and impressive. Considering the 117 solo photobooks and 52 exhibitions he has to his name, his influence on the photographic medium goes far beyond his success as a photographer however. In 2017 he opened the reputable Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, where his own archive and works by other photographers (mainly British and Irish) is housed. He was the President of Magnum Photos from 2014 to 2017 and has won a number of prestigious awards.

Speaking about the accolade, Parr says: ‘It’s a great honour to be named Master of Photography at Photo London. I relish the opportunity to show a totally new exhibition of work of images taken in the UK, a project that I have been working on for the last 50 years!’

A selection of his works will be shown at the eighth edition of Photo London and take over the Embankment East Side Gallery at Somerset House. From his high-octane colour works to his early black & white work, Parr’s fascination with the eccentricities of the British – as well as other key tropes in his work – will be on display for all to enjoy.

When asked why Martin Parr received the award, Photo London Founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad say: ‘Martin is not only a towering figure in the UK photography scene but the British in all their eccentric glory have been his great theme for over half a century. Shot in the brand of heightened colour that Parr has made his own, his photographs are not only individually brilliant, but cumulatively amount to nothing less than a dazzling hymn to the brilliant, slightly bonkers nation that we call home and to the people with whom we live, work and play. More than that though, without Martin Parr’s exemplary practice today’s British photography scene would be much impoverished — and certainly a great deal less fun. So, it is with considerable delight that we will award Martin Parr this year’s Master of Photography. We very much look forward to the exhibition of his recent work for Photo London.’

The Photo London Master of Photography is presented every year to a living artist who has made an exceptional contribution to photography. The previous recipients are: Sebastiao Salgado (2015), Don McCullin (2106), Taryn Simon (2017) Edward Burtynsky (2018), Stephen Shore (2019), Shirin Neshat (2021) and Nick Knight (2022).

The spotlight on British photography will continue with a survey of outstanding works by British women photographers on the opposite wing on Somerset House’s Embankment side. The exhibition ‘Writing her own Script. Women Photographers from the Hyman Collection’ is curated by The Centre for British Photography, which opened in the new year. The exhibition provides an overview of British photography by exploring two strands: a humanistic documentary tradition and a more personal, performative, practice.

Register your interest in Photo London 2023.