For the last thirty years, when Martin Parr has travelled on assignment throughout the world he has had his portrait taken – whether by a local studio photographer, a street photographer, or in a photo booth.
The result is a true celebration of portrait taking – ranging from elaborate studio sets reminiscent of the heyday of the Victorian studio photographer, through to digitally manipulated images of Parr as Mr Universe, or images horrendously re-touched by a studio in their attempts to flatter him.
Presented in chronological order, the photos follow Parr as he ages gently on his travels across continents.
As with all Parr’s projects the book is not only hilarious but also comments on a world beyond the frame – not only in the apparent cultural differences between countries but also in its broader social and political references. It also reflects on identity and self, questioning the whole notion of the photographic portrait.