Martin Parr was born in Epsom, England, in 1952. When he was a boy, his budding interest in the medium of photography was encouraged by his grandfather George Parr, himself a keen amateur photographer. Parr studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic from 1970 to 1973. Since that time, he has worked on numerous projects and developed an international reputation for his innovative imagery and oblique approach to social documentary. In 1994 he became a full member of Magnum. In recent years, Parr has developed an interest in filmmaking and has started to use his photography within different conventions, such as fashion and advertising. In 2002 the Barbican Art Gallery and the National Media Museum initiated a large retrospective of Parr's work. This show toured Europe for the next five years.
In 2004 Parr was appointed a professor of photography at the University of Wales Newport campus, and was guest artistic director for Rencontres D'Arles in 2004. Parrworld opened at Haus de Kunst, Munich, in 2008. The show exhibited Parr's own collection of objects, postcards, his personal photography collection of both British and international artists, photo books, and his own photographs. The exhibition toured Europe for the following two years. At PhotoEspana, 2008, Parr won the Baume et Mercier award in recognition of his professional career and contributions to contemporary photography. He curated the 2010 Brighton Photo Biennial.
Generous support for the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program is provided by the Pilara Foundation / Pier 24 and Randi & Bob Fisher. Additional support by the Black Dog Private Foundation.