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I had the pleasure to stay for a few days in London recently. While spending some time with my Londoner family, their typical sense of humour reminded of Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr’s “Only in England” exhibition. It explores the lasting influences of the too short career of British photographer Tony Ray-Jones on the developement of British photography since the 70’s and on Martin Parr’s work. Driven by the moto “Don’t take boring pictures”, Ray-Jones was fascinated by the eccentricities of English social customs and immortalized what he thought was a disappearing way of life. Full of melancholy and humour, his work impacted Parr’s rarely seen black and white photographs from ‘The Non-Conformists’ series. Known for his sociological and satirical point of view, Parr provided his own analysis of the modern life, documenting the social classeds of England.

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Beauty Contest Southport, Tony Ray-Jones, 1967

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Mankinholes Methodist Chapel, Martin Parr, 1975

Blackpool, 1968 by Tony Ray-Jones

Blackpool, Tony Ray-Jones, 1968

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Brighton Beach, Tony Ray-Jones, 1967

Tom Greenwood cleaning 1976 by Martin Parr

Tom Greenwood cleaning, Martin Parr, 1976

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Spring has finally sprung. Holidays are around the corner and everybody tends now to apply strategies to get the most of this beautiful weather and their spare time. I live in a touristic place in Switzerland where I have the chance to meet a lot of people from all around the world. And with the 30 degrees we are having here at the moment, there is a queue in front of the swimming pool, the beaches are crowded as are all seeking the same things: sunbathing, eating ice cream and taking pictures in front of visited sights.

These scenes remind me of Martin Parr, a photographer that has explored the theme of tourists and their behaviours on holidays. According his point of view, “visiting sites is a modern form of pilgrimage and the resulting photos the ultimate price.” His pictures show the contradiction between the places we all know such the Eiffel Tower and the reality of actually being at an iconic site.

Martin Parr, Spain, Benidorm, 1997

Martin Parr, Spain, Benidorm, 1997

JAPAN. Miyazaki. The Artificial beach inside the Ocean Dome. 1996.Martin Parr, Miyagazi, the artificial beach inside the Ocean Dome, 1996

Martin Parr, Italy, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, 1990Martin Parr, Italy, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, 1990

Martin Parr, thailand hua hin, 2012

Martin Parr, Thailand, Hua Hin, 2012

Since I have been planning a trip to Japan, it seems that I have been obsessed with cherry blossoms and see Japanese inspiration everywhere. And not only because my boyfriend is half Japanese! It started when I was invited to a Japanese artist’s private viewing, followed by a huge exhibit about manga and Nippon culture and, finally, when I was asked to give sushi cooking lessons to a couple of friends. And I must add to that list the latest fashion week and high-end marketing campaigns that are currently taking Japanese codes out of their context and playing with the cliché Western images of the  country of the rising sun.

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Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 campaign

Chanel S:S 2013 campaign

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 campaign

Jalouse Cover, March 2013

Jalouse Cover, March 2013

Prada S:S 2013 campaign

Prada Spring/Summer 2013 campaign

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Prada Spring/Summer 2013 campaign

Marc by Marc Jacobs S:S 2013 Campaign.1

Marc by Marc Jacob Spring/Summer 2013 campaign

Here the Japanese inspiration is less obvious but… look at these shoes!

Marie-Claire Italy_March 2013 (Photographer Thomas Krappitz)

Marie-Claire Italy_March 2013 (Photographer Thomas Krappitz)

 
Marie-Claire Italy_March 2013 (Photographer Thomas Krappitz)_2

Marie-Claire Italy_March 2013 (Photographer Thomas Krappitz)