Close to Home: Small World

SMALL WORLD MARTIN PARR – Link to Magnum photo gallery

Martin Parr’s series “Small World” is an entertaining yet technically brilliant body of work. Whilst I am not usually favourable of Parr’s work, this book has won me over somewhat and broadened my understanding of the way in which he works and how clever his ideas can be. To me, the title “Small World” (in context to Parr’s style of photography) connotes scenes of tourists clambering over one another to capture that one unique and iconic holiday snap that will impress their friends and family and visually broadcast their “one-off” experience to the rest of the world… along with the other hundred tourists also jostling for that image. You’ll see as you look through the images that many of the tourists are brandishing other world-renowned places on various items of clothing whilst visiting another region of the world; such as a “Bali” top worn in Barcelona, Spain, a “New York Yankees” cap worn in Paris, France and a “Hollywood” t-shirt brandished in Luxor, Egypt. Individuals seem to want to promulgate to others just how well-travelled they are, feeling this bizarre necessity (which most of us are guilty of) to purchase something wearable broadcasting to fellows tourists our level of culture and travel.

Yet many will still want homely comforts that they are used to despite being many miles away, as Geoff Dyer states “they can increasingly expect to find many of the things and convinces taken for granted at home.” Tourists bring money and so locals provide what tourists want, be it westernised food or running water from a tap – locals will do their utmost to provide a level of normality and home comforts whilst the landscape provides the rest. “Close to Home” for me, represents people’s desire to see the world out there, to travel and explore, educate themselves and immerse themselves in cultures unbeknown to many – whilst still being able to feel close to home wherever they may be.


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Filed under Reflections on the Real

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