The Photobook: A History Volume 3

Martin Parr, Gerry Badger

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This project was the final volume in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s innovative examination of photobook history. The first two volumes of the study (2004, 2006), spanning almost 130 years of photographic history, delivered what is considered to be the first comprehensive academic survey of photobook practice. The Photobook: A History, Vol. III(2014), on the other hand, was designed to highlight books discovered after the publication of Vol. II (2006) and to evaluate the significance of photobook making in contemporary photographic practice. Based on Martin Parr’s extensive photobook collection, Vol. III was supported by a constant collaborative process in which Parr and Badger uncovered artistic patterns and ideas that they then converted into thematic chapters (Neves, 2017). Prof. Parr carried out the bulk of the initial research while acquiring the numerous volumes examined in this output. During this stage of the study, Parr gathered contextual information about each title and recorded that information in a database. Once the final selection was decided, the authors created the thematic chapters and generated the introductory and individual explicative texts based on Parr’s initial field research and his deep understanding of photobook history and practice. Importantly, the different themes explored in The Photobook: A History, Vol. III(2014) -political propaganda, protest movements, colonialism, conceptual artistic practices, and contemporary debates around identity -paved the way to subsequent investigations concerning contemporary photobook practice and catalysed discussions and publications surveying, among other topics, women and photobook practice and African photobook history.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPhaidon Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Print)9780714866772
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

The work of Martin Parr bridges the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world, his innovative imagery and his prolific output have placed him firmly at the forefront of contemporary art. His recent publications include Luxury (2008) and Life Is a Beach (2012). A member of the international photo agency Magnum, Parr is an avid collector of books and a world authority on the photobook.

Gerry Badger is a photo historian, architect and critic. He regularly writes and lectures on photography and has curated a number of exhibitions. His published books include Collecting Photography (2003) and monographs on John Gossage and Stephen Shore, as well as Phaidon’s 55s on Chris Killip (2001) and Eugene Atget (2001). In 2007 he published The Genius of Photography, the book of the BBC television series of the same name, and in 2010 The Pleasures of Good Photographs, an anthology of essays that was awarded the 2011 Infinity Writers' Award from the International Center of Photography, New York.


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