Gretchen GarnerBritish photographer Parr uses his camera to skewer the affluent consumer culture now pervasive in his home country and throughout Europe. He is critical and pessimistic: in some of his ironically colorful pictures, fast-food consumers are literally ankle-deep in trash, and a kind of consumerist stupor seems to overtake most of the faces. Yet at the same time Parr is humorous, poking fun at a bare-breasted sunbather bottle-feeding her baby, at frenzied supermarket shoppers with crazily overloaded carts. The spirit of the late Tony Ray-Jones, Parr's compatriot whose delightful "A Day Off" (1974) showed the English at play, hovers over "Home and Abroad". Sadly, Parr's English have gotten duller, gained weight, and lost touch with their delightful traditional eccentricities since Ray-Jones' day. Perhaps even Ray-Jones might today see the English as Parr has--homogenized and zombified by material goods. Or perhaps Parr simply has a darker vision.
- Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
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