Martin Parr on the power of photobooks

What, for you, are the milestones in the Magnum photobook catalogue?
Let’s start with Decisive Moment and Death in the Making by two of our founders [Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, respectively] who also set the agenda, if you like, for Magnum with their opposite art and journalistic backgrounds.

What does a photobook give you that a regular book doesn’t?
It gives you an opportunity to live with the work and enjoy it, to take it in and soak it up. You wouldn’t get that with an exhibition or an online show, so it creates a relationship. It’s a tactile thing as well, so it’s a very appealing way of delivering a body of work.

Instagram versus the photobook: who wins and why?
I like Instagram, but ultimately I’d have to choose the book. It’s the perfect package because of the reason I just said. It smells; it has a shape or form; it’s physical. You know, Instagram is [full of] one-off pictures whereas the photobook is a sequence of pictures – and that’s very important.

Full interview here.

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