The flip side' | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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The flip side'

Martin Parr’s pictures show an England that’s rarely seen. And an India that’s very Britain-like, reports Paramita Ghosh.

art and culture Updated: Feb 26, 2010 21:57 IST
Paramita Ghosh

Born in 1952, Magnum photographer Martin Parr inherited or experienced most of Europe’s shakeups in England. He saw their effects all around him — Old Victorian architecture flattened by post-war economy; the May 1968 uprising in Paris making England’s young question old attitudes. Birth of the venerable journal, the New Left Review. The Hungarian revolution crushed by Soviet tanks. The Suez Canal invaded by France and Britain.

Born in the Fifties, “belonging nowhere, with no allegiance and no preference,” what was a boy brought up in the suburbs to do? Parr took pictures. Of an England, rarely seen — a middle-class family stocking up on bonsai and white sofas; women stuffing themselves with burgers and ketchup.

With India, Parr is gentler and surprisingly, nostalgic. His India book has photographs of the Fairlawn couple, who no western, and, truth be told, few Kolkattan journalist have failed to cover; a boisterous Indian wedding with spirited dance moves; a ‘Tombola’ announcement with spelling errors.

“Can’t resist the nostalgia,” says Parr. “There are some aspects of India that are still more British than Britain. The public schools for instance. And curry. Can’t have enough of it”.

(Catch the Martin Parr exhibition at the Photoink Gallery till March 27 at 1 Jhandewalan, Faiz Road, New Delhi. Contact 28755940 )