Great Britain born 1952
(Toy army tank)
Collection Title: the series The Last Resort
Place made: New Brighton, Wirral, Merseyside, England
Creation Notes: printed 1992
Materials & Technique: photographs, Type C colour photograph
The last resort, a portrait of New Brighton, Merseyside, represents Martin Parr’s first foray into colour. At the time it was seen as a bold move, as black and white was still regarded as the more suitable medium for documentary work. Like a number of American colour photographers, Parr used the medium format Plaubel Makina, a lightweight camera that allowed spontaneity while still producing good sized negatives – and he further heightened the clarity by using flash. Interested in mapping the changing lives of ordinary people by focusing on public spaces and spectacle, Parr chose to document a seaside resort outside Liverpool. Long in decline after its glory days of the late nineteenth century, New Brighton was rich pickings for the artist: spilling over with visitors trying determinedly to have a good time amongst the rubbish – though despite their efforts they often looked bored and anxious.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra