Martin Parr, Signs of the Times exhibition

Last night I went to the opening evening of the Beetles+Huxley exhibition of Martin Parr‘s Signs of the Times photo series.

The photos were a series of stills taken from the BBC 1991 documentary of the same name. Directed by Nicholas Barker, in collaboration with Martin Parr it was one of the early reality TV shows where viewers were given a glimpse into other peoples homes and often their tastes and idiosyncrasies. Each of the images feature quotes from the documentary that often make for humourous viewing.

With one image featuring floral toilet roll on a holder and the caption “Sue has definitely given the bathroom the feminine touch”,  one can’t help but crack a smile (no pun intended).

I really enjoy Martin Parr’s work. I love the ‘trainspotter’ feel to it that is now so popular, and there is something strangely comforting to these images. These are people we all know, our Gran, our Aunt, the next-door neighbour or even ourselves, and perhaps part of it’s appeal is that it’s so easy to relate to. I am aware that while i’m laughing at these people of the 90’s who thought floral toilet roll was the height of sophistication, I am also being reminded that I too have my own ideas about what great taste is which may in a decades time seem quite embarrassing.
As Martin said himself at the talk last night, one persons idea of great is another persons idea of naff.

The exhibition runs at Beetles+Huxley until 30th August.


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