Unseen City: Photos by Martin Parr opens today (4 March) at Guildhall Art Gallery offering a view of age-old and often secretive happenings in the City of London through the lens of famed Magnum photographer Martin Parr.
As the City of London photographer-in-residence from 2013, Parr documented life in London’s ancient financial centre with unprecedented access to high profile occasions including private ceremonies, processions, banquets, public occasions and behind-the-scenes doings.
The result is vintage Parr: unflinchingly straightforward and seemingly banal photography that’s as enduring to see as it is open to discussion – with all sorts of opportunity squeezing into his frame for some of the best social commentary going.
With the City as his subject matter, Parr’s pics ooze an Englishness that seems almost immemorial and stereotypical. For all the pomp and circumstance recorded, the exhibition stands out for its whimsy and candor.
Unseen City is a hoot to view but also a fascinating chance to glimpse moments from one of Britain’s most significant areas of influence, wealth and power from a cannily playful and up close observer with the keenest eye going.
Unseen City: Photos by Martin Parr runs until 31 July 2016 at Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AE. Exhibition entry £5 (concessions £4) but entry to the gallery’s permanent art collection is free. Find out more at cityoflondon.gov.uk.
For more about Martin Parr, go to martinparr.com.