Martin Parr

Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer. His photographs contain an intimate and satirical twist to modern life. He particularly documents in social classes and also the wealth of western countries. Some of the well known projects that Martin has produced are, ‘The cost of living’ (1987-1989), ‘Small world’ (1987-1994) and ‘Common sense’ (1995-1999).

Martin has had over 40 books published and has also been featured in around 80 exhibitions in many countries.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 22.01.59

I came across one of these books ‘The last resort’ which I studied and are a series of forty photographs that were taken in New Brighton at a beach suburb of Liverpool. The photos were taken with a medium format camera and with a daylight flash. Martin Parr printed eleven images from ‘The last resort’ in large format edition of five for his 2002 retrospective at the Barbican Art Gallery, London.

The photographs Martin Parr took within this Album were taken between 1983 and 1985. They depict a seaside resort past its prime with attractions designed to appeal to an economically depressed working class society with overcrowded beaches, video arcades, beauty competitions, tea rooms and chip chops. The series was exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, London and in 1986 was published as a book. By looking through his book I saw how Martin captures any unusual moment, this is something I want to put towards my shoots.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 22.02.57

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 22.03.07

After publishing these images in 1989, they divided both critics and audiences alike. Some saw it as the finest achievement to date of colour photography in Britain whilst others viewed it as an aberration. With the benefit of hindsight there is little doubt that it transformed documentary photography in Britain and places Martin amongst the world leading photographers. Martin Parr viewed the decaying holiday resort of Brighton and its holiday makers in a way that was new, unique and deeply disturbing. He also did this in colour, something which at the time was seen as revolutionary for documentary work. For some his camera seemed cold and cruel as it followed the working classes desperately pursuing their holiday dreams surrounded by dereliction, decay and wading through the endless detritus of a pollution society. Others felt it showed an affectionate, humorous and humanistic response from Martin himself.


Book: Martin Parr and Ian Walker.Dewi Lewis, revised edition (5 nov 2009).The last resort: Photographs of New Brighton Stockport.

Website: viewed 27/11/14


Alfred Eisenstaedt

Alfred was an established photographer when he moved to the united Stares from Germany in 1935. In 1945 he once took a photograph of a sailor in his blue inform kissing a nurse in her white uniform in Times square that led to his fame. He managed to capture this moment by being persistent and not planning, this is how he stayed true to the moment, photographing a real life event.

‘That day in August of 1945, Eisenstaedt was simply walking among the crowd that had gathered on the streets of New York. One of the people he noticed was a sailor who was kissing his way through the crowd. He followed him long enough to see him grab the woman whose outfit in white brought the contrast of the sailor’s blue to his keen eye. At that moment, Eisenstaedt snapped the picture’.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 20.12.11

Eisenstaedt set up his first darkroom in his family’s bathroom. His first image that he sold was of a woman playing tennis that he captured when he was on vacation in Czechoslovakia in 1927. Der Weltspiegel a German bought it for $3, after someone bought his photography Eisenstaedt didn’t even know he could make money this way, so this encouraged him to keep taking photos further. When it came to 1936 Eisenstaedt was taking pictures of Hollywood celebrities but also ordinary people around him. The editor from a magazine called ‘Life’ who Eisenstaedt photographed for, once told Eisenstaedt ‘The most important thing is not to be in awe of anyone. Remember, you are a king in your own profession’. Eisenstaedt said that, ‘I never forgot those words.” His small stature and his personality served him well with his many subjects’. Here I see that Eistendaet had a lot of inspiration from certain people throughout his life, they encouraged him to find that great photographer within him, as at times he himself didn’t see it, mainly because he was 5t 4, a short man who not many people took seriously. However he continued photography various origins of people when he had his camera with him, walking through the crowds waiting for a moment to happen that he could capture. Which is exactly how he managed to be come well known for photography of the sailor and the woman, this happened by him just waiting, being patient until he felt ready to take the picture.

What I like about the work of Eisenstaedt is that he was always staying true to who he was and the work he wanted to produce. He had a lot of negative feedback at times because his style of photographing was never seen before at that time, he captured moments as they were happening, they were never planned, which got many people interested in his work as they connected with what they saw in his images, realism, how life should be, they felt the honesty and thought this is how we should photograph life.

Whilst Eisenstaedt was photographing people in the street, he also photographed some famous people at the time, which included Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy family, Bob Hope, Bertrand Russell, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt and many others. Even though he was photographing world leaders and movie stars, Eisenstaedt would make them look no more distant than someone’s next door neighbor, because he would capture their bad moments, moments when you shouldn’t take a photo, but Eisenstaedt did, making people see that all they are underneath fame, are ordinary people.


Alfred Eisenstaedt. Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. 20 Nov. 2014> Viewed 20/11/14

Website: Viewed 20/11/14

Elliot Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt was a documentary and advertising photographer. He is well know for his black and white candid photographs, where he photographs every day things, such as families spending time together, someone cooking, children, eating and everything else. Erwitt started studying photography in 1939 at Los Angeles city college when he moved to America, finishing his education in 1950. Elliot served as a photographer’s assistant in the 1950s in the United States army. Photographers such as Robert Capa, Edward Steichen and Roy Stryker influenced Elliott to take photography further as he was inspired when looking at the images they took of society, making them look natural, within the moment, and what actually happens in real life.

Roy Stryker hired Elliott to work on a photography project for the ‘Standard oil company’. This experience led to him becoming a freelance photographer, producing work for Colliers, Life and Holiday. He then went on to continue shooting projects around the world because he joined the Magnum Photos agency in 1953.

All of Elliott Erwitt’s photographs are very simplistic and observed. He waits to grab the best angle and photo which comes naturally. In four of Elliot’s books that he published, Son of bitch (1974), Dogs Dogs (1988), Woof (2005) and Elliot Erwitts dogs (2008), a subject he decided to focus on was dogs. Elliot went on to spend a lot of time in film making since the 1970s. Some the documentary films that he produced are ‘Beauty knows no pain’ (1971) and ‘Red, white and bluegrass’ (1973), but the most well known one is ‘Glassmakers of Herat, Afghanistan (1977).

I looked at one of Elliott Erwitts latest books called ‘Personal Exposures’. Seeing what few others see and capturing it for us, is the essence of personal exposures. In this book Elliott put together prints that he rediscovered after a long time of not seeing them, creating a unified whole that reflects a consistent, mature vision of photograph and humanity. He photographed men, woman, children in off guard moments, old people, little girls, and many other things. I took ideas from his work, looking at how he approached society to photograph them working, living everyday, something I am going to do. Finding people in the most bizarre places, doing unusual things, or things we see all the time, find that perfect moment and then capturing it.


Book: Elliot Erwitt, W.W.Norton & Co,First Edition(16 Nov 1988).Personal exposures. Schirmer/Mosel Verlag Gm (2012).

Website: viewed 27/11/14

Website: viewed 27/11/14

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards is an American documentary photographer. Within Richards photographs his main aim is to raise social awareness and they have been characterized as highly personal. In his first book that he published ‘Few comforts or surprises (1973), he photographed the poverty in Arkans. In His seconds book however ‘Dorchester Days (1978), the book comes across more angry and bitter, both political and personal. Eugene has also been a member of Magnum photos.

As Eugene lived in Arkansas in 1968, he became increasingly involved in the black community. He began to use his camera to record what he observed, not only the poverty and suffering of these people but also their laughter, contemplation, and triumphs. His subjects range from children at play to an African style wedding to scenes of work and home life. Death, religion, and imprisonment are major elements of Delta existence, and of these photos. The 110 photographs collected within his book ‘Few comforts or surprises’ that I looked at and studied, express the quality of life in a part of the South.


When Eugene was in Arkans, he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, many voices, which reported on black political action and the Ku Klux Klan. Photographs he made during these years were published in his first monograph and book ‘Few comforts or surprises’ which I studied, learning from his work and taking ideas from it to put towards my theme. When Richard returned to Dorchester, he started to document the changing, racially diverse neighbourhood where he was born. His second monograph ‘Dorchester days’ was published in 1978, the same year he joined Magnum photos where he remained for 17 years.

Some of Eugene’s work has appeared in major magazines worldwide including Life, New york Times, Mother Jones, National Geographic and The Nation. Some of the books that he has published include ‘Cocaine true Cocaine blue’ which is an extensive reportorial on the effects of hardcore drug use. Looking at some of the books that Eugene has published that I myself studied here and there, I see how he clearly photographs people in unstable surroundings, showing their actions, which give us an understanding as to why they are showing a certain emotion. Eugene’s aim is to capture moments where the viewer connects with the person in the image, understanding their life and behaviour; this is something I have included within my shoots.


Book: Eugene Richards.MIT Press,New edition (22 Aug 1974).Few comforts or surprises: The Arkansas Delta.

Website: viewed 27/11/14

Website: viewed 27/11/14

Documentary project development 1



  Tatto Studio

  Contact Sheets

The theme i chose for a project that i am working on at uni was Intimacy and documentary. I was influenced by photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Martha Cooper, Eugene Richards, Elliot Erwitt and Alfred Eisenstaedt. Their work intrigued me when i saw how they each photographed documentary in different ways. I took some of their ideas and incorporated it into my own shoots, showing an understanding of their work but also creating my own ideas about what i thought intimate documentary was.

Throughout the first half of my project i focused on photographing people in the city, working places, shops, pubs, bars etc. I wanted a series of my images to document their lives from far away and sometimes in close proximity. I produced contact sheets and final prints in black and white film.

Martha Cooper

Martha Cooper is a documentary street photographer and photojournalist from New York City. She has been photographing teenagers mostly as they rebel against adults, graffiting the streets, sex, violence, rock and roll, young love etc since the 1970s and 80s. She has documented hip hop culture since the 1980s. She is the author of books such as Subway Art, New York State of Mind, Hip Hop Files, We B Girlz and Street Play.

One of Martha’s books that I looked at ‘Tag Town’ is a book of photos when Martha back in the 80s, shot New York Cities infant tagging graffiti scene back when there were just a hand full of people out there doing it. This was the absolute beginning of what you call street art today and Martha recorded it. She would sit for hours waiting for one train to pass after getting a call from a writer letting her know it was coming. Martha did this out of curiousness, pure interest and love. She thought this was a movement of the minute. She had no idea that her lens was capturing the very beginning of one the greatest art movements of our time. I love how Martha invades peoples personal space when she goes out into the street, she stops to connect with anyone that’s out doing mischief, I like the rawness and honesty about this. Exposing the rebel things that people do by photographing it, Is what gave outsiders a reason to question Martha ‘Why is she doing this?’, but it is simply to document humanity’s sinful nature, the realism about the realm that we are living in.

Throughout Martha’s career of photographing graffiti and the streets, she one day came across someone called Edwin. He made her aware of the graffiti that was around many areas in New York at that time. Edwin helped to explain to her that Graffiti is an art form and that each artist was actually writing his or her nickname. Edwin then went on to introduce Martha to some well know talented graffiti artists; this is when Martha met someone called Dondi. Dondi was the first person that allowed her to accompany him. While he was doing graffiti on walls she would take photos of his art. After this Martha ended up putting a book together of photographs illustrating the graffiti subculture called ‘Subway Art’.

Looking at Martha’s images, I see some are staged and others she has just taken within the moment. I have added both these strategies towards my documentary shoots, some being real to the moment, and other times getting someone to for eg go on their skateboard so I can document their social life. Either way I am still showing what people are doing to make up their day. Documentary is fun and it can be experimented with in many ways. It doesn’t always have to be captured within the moment, sometimes you can change a little here or there, the image is still being taken whilst the person continues doing what they were doing.


Website: viewed 28/11/14

Website: viewed 28/11/14

Website: viewed 28/11/4

Website: viewed 28/11/14

Book: Martha Cooper.Dokument forlag,1 edition (5 Feb 2009).Tag Town.

Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand was a street photographer known for portraying the life of the United States within his images throughout the 20 century. Most of his photographs depict the social issues of that time and the role of the media. His first book that he published in 1969 included two of his well know photographs, ‘Bronx Zoo’ and ‘Coney Island’, a collection of pictures that observes the connections between animals and humans.

Garry shot 700 rolls of films at public events, producing 6,500 eleven by fourteen inch prints between 1969 and 1976. Between 1952 and 1954, Gary worked as a commercial photographer at the Pix photo Agency in Manhattan and from 1954 at Brackman Associates. His photographs powerfully combine the hope and exhilaration as well as the anxiety and turbulence that characterized America during its vital years. Garry completed most of his photo taking in New York City in the 1960s, but he also photographed places such as California, Texas and Chicago. Most of his photographs trace the mood of America itself, showing its chaos and depression that was going on in the 1960s.

At the time of Garry Winogrands death, there was discovered 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures, and contact sheets made from 3,000 rolls. The Garry Winogrand archive at the Centre for creative photography contains over 20,000 fine work prints, 20,000 contact sheets, 100,000 negatives and 30,500 35 mm colour slides as well as a small group of Polaroid prints and several amateur motion picture films of his work.

The great thing about Garry’s documentary photography is that he has the ability to produce pictures richly complex to their description. His images are intriguing, interesting, you feel like you were there when he took it. This is because within his images a lot is happening in them most of the time, so the human mind notices these things and connects with it, giving you the feeling that you’re in that picture, a great technique that Garry has managed to use successfully so that documentary comes across real and truthful. Whenever Garry photographed a scene, he wanted it to tell a story about the life of America. After seeing how he naturally documented people’s lives, I wanted to see more of his work to get ideas for my shoots, ideas of what to document as I photograph. I came across a book that he published ‘Figments from the real world’. The book contains the development of Winogrands pictorial strategies during his years as a photojournalist, the increasing complexity of his motifs as he pursued more personal goals, and the challenge posed for other photographers by the powerful and distinctive authority of Winogrands best work, with its manic sense of a life balanced somewhere between animal high spirits and an apprehension of moral disaster.


I was influenced by this book to go out and photograph ordinary people in the street, close-ups as well as distance, putting together a collection of images that represent that town’s vibe and surroundings. I got more influences from another book that I looked at of Garry Winogrand ‘The man in the crowd’. This book was not created by himself as most of the work within it are images that were found undeveloped after his death which were then processed later on and put together. However by looking at these images, I have created new ideas to put towards my project now that I have a greater understanding of the ways in which street photography can be photographed.


Website: Viewed 22/11/14

Nation Gallery of art- Viewed 22/11/14

Garry Winogrand talks:

Viewed 22/11/14

Book: John Szarkowski, Garry Winogrand.1988.Figments from the real world. Museum of modern art.

Book: Garry Winogrand, Frish Brandt.1999-01-02.The man in the crowd. Fraenkel Gallery