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It appears that the landscape of
photography has shifted.
"It's never been more popular or
democratic than right now," says Martin,
pointing to the rise of digital cameras,
smartphones and photo-sharing websites
such as Flickr. " ere's no intimidation by
process or technique. All that matters is
what you say and how you say it."
While Richard's work predates the rise
of such technology, Martin says he is the
"perfect example" of a photographer who
crosses the boundaries between amateur
and fine-art photography.
He's not alone. In recent years, more
galleries have shown photographers
outside the ordinary scope of art. "A
lot of commercial photographers and
photojournalists are branching out with
their own exhibitions," says Milton Harris,
a Melbourne-based contemporary art
collector. "I think people are looking to
buy from a much broader range of work."
at's been the case at the Art Gallery
of Western Australia (AGWA), which
acquired a 2001 piece by Perth-born,
internationally renowned commercial
photographer Justin Smith. His client list
is a name-check of the fashion industry:
Tiffany and Co, Louis Vuitton, Harper's
Bazaar and Australian Vogue.
"Coming at the fine art scene from the
fashion arena, Smith creates dynamic
visual statements that are as seductive
as they are provocative," says Robert
Cook, AGWA's curator of modern and
contemporary photography and design.
But perhaps the most salient example
of the digital camera revolution is street
photographers. ese self-fashioned
artists have developed global profiles --
travelling the world to photograph dapper
pedestrians and posting the shots online.
Scott Schuman is the best known,
with his website e Sartorialist attracting
250,000 hits a day. Lately he's been a
hit with art collectors too. ey lined up
around the block for his debut exhibition
in 2008, and his portraits are now held in
the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tokyo
Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
It has inspired a legion of imitators,
documenting every facet of the human
experience. Whether it's food, travel
or fashion, a thousand blogs and photo
streams exist on the topic. Amongst it all,
there is a palpable sense of optimism that
anyone -- no matter what their training
or background -- could become someone in
the world of photography.
" e only problem now is that
everything looks the same," says Martin
Parr, on the drawbacks of digital cameras.
"Taking a good photo is easy, but it's
harder to stand out from the crowd. at's
why it's so important to find your own
way of saying things."
In his own career, Martin is known
for polarising opinions. A member of
prestigious photojournalism agency
Magnum Photos, his candy-coloured
snaps of everyday Brits often reveal
a cunning sense of humour. "People
either love him or hate him, but they
would certainly know about him," says
Bob Hewitt. "He is the highest profile
photographer in England."
is was one reason for FotoFreo
commissioning Martin to photograph
Broome, Port Hedland, Fremantle and
Albany -- a central component of its
2012 program. "He's certainly attractive
from a marketing and financing
perspective," Bob says.
e other reason is slightly more
ambiguous, but gets to the heart of what
makes a fine-art photographer. "It was
his keen powers of observation," Bob
"It's never been more popular or democratic
than right now. ere's no intimidation by
process or technique. All that matters is what
you say and how you say it" -- Martin Parr
Fremantle's Port Beach Polar Bears swimming
club, one of the pictures from the No Worries: Martin
Parr exhibition. © 2011 Martin Parr Magnum Photos.
Photography | A Di erent Picture
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