Martin PARR, (Toy army tank) Enlarge 1 /1

Martin PARR

Great Britain born 1952

(Toy army tank) 1983-86
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

Primary Insc: Signed and dated, verso, u.l., fibre tipped pen (black), "Martin Parr ...1983-86 printed 1992..." Inscribed, verso, u.l., fibre tipped pen (black), "...Last Resort..."
Dimensions: image 43.8 h x 53.4 w cm sheet 50.8 h x 61.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1993
Accession No: NGA 93.77

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