This summer, the harts gallery in New Milford is exhibiting Strange Paradise, the work of legendary British photographer Martin Parr.
Parr first garnered attention in the mid-80s with his series and book, The Last Resort:Photographs of New Brighton, documenting leisure seekers at a seaside town in the United Kingdom. It is with the subject matter of these images, along with his use of saturated color, that Parr begins to lead the viewer down a road where seemingly meaningless everyday moments become a source of irony, absurdity, obsessive attention, grotesque detail and even magic. A critique also begins, one that Parr has continued to engage in throughout his career, regarding the elements of life we choose to employ in Western, globalized society, often without thought or question. Parr deftly flips the mirror and presents us with our own reflection, reminding us of the world we have created, with its fashion, food, places of entertainment and social structures, in a way that only he could, with equal parts fascination, humor, horror and skepticism.
Strange Paradise presents work from several of Parr's series dating from the 1980s through today, including a number of images from The Last Resort. Though the photographs bridge multiple subjects and almost a quarter of a century of image-making,the theme of leisure emerges again and again, in the settings depicted, the attire worn and the food consumed. The images will remain as artifacts of this specific moment in the ever-changing human narrative. Photographer Tealia Ellis-Ritter is guest curator of the exhibition.