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Becoming Martin Parr

28 February, 2010

Last Saturday I had dinner with Joachim Schmid, the Berlin-based artist. Joachim is best known for his work with found photographs, and he runs a wonderful artists collaborative and photo book publishing operation there called ABC Artists’ Book Cooperative. Joachim told me about his recent book, ‘Joachim Schmid is Martin Parr • Martin Parr is Joachim Schmid.’ Apparently Martin had a VIP pass to visit the Berlin Art Forum but he couldn’t attend, so he gave his pass to Joachim and Joachim went to the fair with a ‘Martin Parr’ nametag. Many people thought he actually was Martin Parr, which inspired Joachim to begin photographing things at the fair, imitating Martin’s style. He says finding the ‘triggers’ of a Parr photograph – the subject matter – is pretty easy. The technique is a little harder. He had to learn to get much closer to the subject than he normally would. Later, Martin and Joachim collaborated to make the book – Martin making a selection of found photographs the way Joachim often does.

Recently Joachim has been making books out of other people’s photographs that he grabs from Flickr and other websites. Each is a collection of pictures on a specific subject. The first was a book of sunsets. By the time he finishes, Joachim will have made a set of 100 different books, all self-published, on a different theme. Here are the titles so far:

Airports · Another Self · Bags · Big Fish · Buddies · Coffee · Contents · Currywurst · Digits · Documents · Encounters · First Shots · Flashing · Food · Gathered Together · Happy Birthday · Hotel Rooms · In Motion · Maps · Mickey · Nothing Wrong · November 5th, 2008 · Objects in Mirror · On the Road · Real Estate · Red · Self · Shadow · Sites · Size Matters · Statues · Sunset · Things · Tropic of Capricorn

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