Photographs by Martin Parr,
In the sixties a pioneering collection of small, original, well-written books on travels published by Le Seuil was named "Petite planète" ("Small World"). Martin Parr took up this title, undoubtedly not aware of the filiation. According to the preface it was Henri Cartier Bresson who used this expression when visiting an exhibit by the British photographer. What ever the origin, it is definitely a reduced world, like in miniature, that transcends from these photographs: he shows the erasing of local distinctive signs in all venues touched by massive tourism. Everywhere one sees the same clothes, the same T-shirts with the stupid prints, the same advertising. The worst part is probably something else: the visitor -one does not dare say the traveler-is usually a group animal, has an empty look (or frightened when a native holds him too close), arms dangling (or busy taking the enth useless photograph). Even if we have often seen them, these shots always make us smile at our own ridiculous attitudes. We can regret though that the critical aspect is so reduced: aside from the subjective preface by Geoff Dyer and the cryptic captions, there is no text nor biography.
• Petite Planète, photographs by Martin Parr, Hoëbeke publishing house, 2008, 96 p., 38 €, ISBN : 9782-84230-319-8.
Review published in the newsletter #89 - from 8 May 2008 to 14 May 2008