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Martin Parr Foundation to open in Bristol this October

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Louis Little: Martin Parr Foundation

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr will open The Martin Parr Foundation based in Bristol on 25 October.

The foundation’s aim is to “support and promote photography from the British Isles” and will do so by not only preserving Martin’s archive, but by “holding a growing collection of works by selected British and Irish photographers, as well as images taken in the British Isles by international photographers,” on top of an expanding library of photo books.

The Foundation includes a gallery space which will be open to the public regularly. It will open with Black Country Stories by the photographer running until January 2018, followed by Town to Town by Niall McDiarmid and in the spring Swaps by David Turn. The foundation will also provide research sessions, public talks, educational events, book signings and seminars.

The photographer is known as an avid collector of photography books “of around 12,000," and his collection has been both gifted and acquired by the Tate with assistance from Luma Foundation, The Art Fund, and Tate supporters. Part of the proceeds generated from this have been put invested into the Martin Parr Foundation.

In the foundation’s collection is a number of post-war documentary photography works relating to the British Isles, including works by Keith Arnatt, Richard Billingham, Peter Mitchell, Elaine Constantine, and two original macquettes of Chris Killip’s In Flagrante the full sets of Belgravia by Karen Knorr among many other established works. Martin’s own archive spans his career, “from his student days to the present, including ephemera, correspondence, books and published editorial work”.

Martin is recognised as one of the most important and influential documentary photographers, particularly in social photography. “Over the past 40 years, Parr’s dedication to discovering and promoting the overlooked, and his support of both photographers and photography has contributed to the way the history of the medium is understood and defined,” says the foundation.

“Post-war British documentary photography continues to be under appreciated and I wanted to make a small contribution to rectify this,” says Martin. “The foundation will support and preserve the legacy of photographers who made, and continue to make, important work focused on the British Isles.”

The Martin Parr Foundation’s director is Jenni Smith and six trustees have been appointed, the foundation will work closely with the University of West England, exhibiting the final show of its new MA Photography course.

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Louis Little: Martin Parr

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Simon Roberts: Bolton Abbey, Skipton from We English

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Jon Tonks: St Helens

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Peter Mitchell