Alec Soth's Archived Blog

July 1, 2007

Badgering Parr

Filed under: Magnum — alecsothblog @ 10:35 pm

Last week I mentioned the new Magnum nominees. In response, one reader noted that newcomers usually have lobbyists within the membership. Martin Parr commented in agreement.

Nobody knows better than Parr how difficult it is to get the necessary votes. In 1994, there wasn’t just lobbying, but a full-fledged campaign to keep Parr from becoming a full member. Just before the annual meeting, Philip Jones Griffiths wrote the following letter to his fellow members:

I have known Marin Parr for almost 20 years and during that time I have observed his career with interest. He is an unusual photographer in the sense that he has always shunned the values that Magnum was built on. Not for him any of our concerned ‘finger on the pulse of society’ humanistic photography. He preached against us and was bold enough to deride us in print while his career as an ‘art’ photographer mushroomed…When he applied for associate membership I pointed out that our acceptance of him into Magnum would be more than simply taking on another photographer. It would be the embracing of a sworn enemy whose meteoric rise in Magnum was closely linked with the moral climate of Thatcher’s rule. His penchant for kicking the victims of Tory violence cause me to describe his pictures as ‘fascistic’ … Today he wants to be a member. The vote will be a declaration of who we are and a statement of how we see ourselves. His membership would not be a proclamation of diversity but the rejection of those values that have given Magnum the status it has in the world today. Please don’t dismiss what I am saying as some kind of personality clash. Let me state that I have great respect for him as the dedicated enemy of everything I believe in and, I trust, what Magnum still believes in.


1993 Magnum meeting, Elliott Erwitt, Martin Parr & David Hurn (on floor). Photo by Burt Glinn

In an article entitled Mission Impossible? 60 Years of Magnum (in the current issue of Aperture), Gerry Badger writes that Parr received the necessary two-thirds majority by one vote. He also notes that Parr now is ironically one of Magnum’s senior members. Maybe this is why Badger is so intent on taking down Parr. Last week Badger sent me a letter describing his impressions of Parr at Magnum’s 60th Anniversary party. Badger asked me to post this letter on my blog in hopes, I assume, of having Parr’s membership revoked:

Off to New York for Magnum’s 60th anniversary party at the MoMA on July 21st, getting a rare taste of the Martin Parr lifestyle. There were two anniversary parties scheduled – the first, at the MoMA, was ‘exclusive’, but there was a later one for the plebs, to which I’d invited a friend of mine.

Anyway, come 6.30, we (we being the great and good of Magnum, and select hangers-on like me) all gathered in the shelter of the Museum’s 53rd Street entrance, just as a heavy downpour hit Manhattan. Then it was through to the Museum’s Sculpture Garden to hit the champagne, with various Magnum members (they know who they are) leading the charge. I swear one prominent photographer was downing his second glass and reaching for a third before I gratefully grabbed my first. You just cannot compete with Bob Capa’s heirs.

There can’t be many more spectacular places to have a party than the MoMA’s Sculpture Garden – a little oasis of calm and birch trees surrounded by spectacular skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan. But it was rather ruined because what looked like a rusty alien spaceship had crash landed in the middle of it. This turned out to be a Richard Serra sculpture – or ‘piece’ as they call it – part of an exhibition the Museum was holding of his work. I certainly hope it’s not permanent.

Actually I didn’t believe the Museum bullshit about it being a Richard Serra ‘piece.’ I’ve seen lots of these things around Manhattan in front of public buildings – sculptures my ass, they’re crash landed alien spaceships. There’s a conspiracy afoot – the authorities won’t admit that New York’s been under attack from alien spaceships, after 9/11 and all that. But at least the aliens seem to have had worse aim than Al Qeada – I never saw one that had actually hit a building, though this one had made a bit of a mess of the garden. Possibly Martin (from another planet) Parr had arrived in it.

All in all, it was quite a sedate party. Even Josef Koudelka was on his best behaviour in the severely angled, white walled ‘high temple of modernism.’ Though I thought I caught a glimpse of some unidentified male take a leak behind one of the birch trees. Considering the further threat of alien attack, the security seemed lamentably lax. The invitation card had stressed the party’s exclusivity and all that, but do you know who I saw there? Peter Galassi. I mean, who let him in?

There were speeches. The best came from Elliott Erwitt after all the others had finished. It was short, though not maybe so sweet. It’s nice to see so many old friends here, he said, most of whom we’ve fired at one time or another.

I had a miserable time. I spent much of it trying to avoid two people. First of all Alec Soth – I didn’t want to appear in his blog again. He apologised about the picture of me that he’d previously posted. That’s ok Alec, I said, it was such a crap picture you couldn’t make me out. Did you take it with a mobile phone camera or your usual 8 x 10? Funny I didn’t see you set up the view camera but I was drunk at the time. Soth backs off at this, claiming that the crap picture was taken by somebody else. I don’t think so. Let you the readers judge.

The other person to avoid was Martin Parr. As he put it, he was photographing a Magnum Annual Party for the first and last time – using a flash with a thing like a Styrofoam coffee cup on the end of it. My penile extension, he explained hopefully (but unsuccessfully) to any lady who passed by.

I mean if Magnum had to hire someone to do the party pictures, did it have to be Martin? He’s clearly not as successful as we all thought, if he needs to do birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs and weddings. I sincerely hope the Magnum blogsite goes down before he has a chance to post. I mean, if Magnum wanted to hire a party photographer, why couldn’t they have selected a nice ‘concerned photographer’ like Philip Jones Griffiths or Ian Berry to do them – photographers who photograph you with dignity and humanism and make you look good – instead of the appallingly ‘cynical’ and ‘ironic’ Parr? Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus did enough pictures at the MoMA of people looking demented without Parr adding to them. All I can say is we could be thankful that Bruce Gilden didn’t have a camera on him. Well, I hope he didn’t.

Chucking out time at the MoMA was 9.30, by which time it was chucking it down in torrents again. We were all due to start the real party – the annual Magnum orgy of photography, drink and dancing – at the Jamirah Essex House Hotel, up on Central Park South. I had arranged to pick up my ‘date’ for the evening, fragrant New York photography dealer Deborah Bell, back at the entrance on East 53rd Street.

The rain had gotten even heavier, but on every street corner, umbrella vendors had appeared as if by magic. I was about to give $5 to one for an umbrella but Deborah (showing she is a true New Yorker though she’s originally from Minnesota) beat him down to $3, showing a tough side to her character that rather shocked – but also excited me.

When we got to Essex House, instead of the usual tinkly crap, the music playing in the lobby was a raucous Bessie Smith blues – something about pig’s feet and a bottle of beer – a good sign I thought.

And so it was – music wise anyway. The two function rooms given over to the party were heaving with people. There was a little dance floor at one end, a food buffet in the middle, and a bar down the other end.
Unfortunately, the layout of the room was so bad, food and drink so far divorced from each other, the area in between so heaving with humanity, that a desperate choice was called for. What to do? Go for the food first, or the drink? And do it while avoiding Parr – he was still snapping away like a maniac, knocking people over left and right with his ‘penile extension.’ Not to mention the crafty Soth, who was surveying the room with a benign smile fixed upon his face. Perhaps he’d been offered a toke or two, or was simply TOO DRUNK TO BLOG.

Knowing that the booze would never run out at a Magnum event, I suggested to Deborah that we eat first – a wise choice because no sooner had we modestly filled our plates than more hordes piled into the room and descended upon the buffet like vultures. Three minutes later, not a scrap of food remained upon the table. WHAT THE HELL WOULD PARR PHOTOGRAPH?

After eating our modest portions, Deborah and I moved towards the bar – carefully avoiding Parr and Soth – and gratefully helped ourselves to a couple of glasses of wine (that’s a couple each), before moving on to the dancefloor. The music was perfect for dancing – old Sun, Stax and Atlantic soul and R ’n B – so I was soon pulling out all my best moves, while Deborah showed she was no slouch when it came to shaking her tush.

Also seen on the dancefloor making some fancy moves (’scuse the name dropping) were David Hurn (best oldie), Susan Meiselas (best hot babe), and Philip-Lorca diCorcia (best Latin).

Unfortunately, all this down and dirty dancing attracted the manic Parr and his coffee cup flash, and he was soon flashing away in his usual cynical fashion, trying to make us all look like hopeless dancers. Then, while executing a particularly neat move, a double salsa with a twist, out of the corner of my eye I noticed Soth with laptop in hand, clearly in blog mode. Aaargh! Could I ever escape them?

After half a dozen dances, I suggested to Deborah that we adjourn for another drink, as long as we could avoid Parr and Soth. It was at that moment that DISASTER STRUCK THE PARTY!

A horrible rumour was running round the room, spreading like wildfire. The bar was closed due to. . . . due to (people could hardly bring themselves to say it) the fact that the BOOZE HAD RUN OUT! Guests shook their heads at each other in absolute disbelief and horror. The booze had run out! At a Magnum party! Bob Capa must be turning in his grave. What a way to end the festivities.

It had all been going so well, the party had just been warming up. The hotel had clearly seriously miscalculated the enormous thirst of the photographic community. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits following this, but there was nothing left for it. Disconsolate, boozeless, we trooped out of the hotel, Parr sloping off to download his pictures*, Soth to write his blog, and the rest of us into the dark, sultry Manhattan night.

* For interested techies, Martin Parr was using a Canon 5D digital camera, Fuji Reala film and this coffee cup flash thingy – but not necessarily at the same time or in that order.

  • see Parr’s pictures of the event here (and don’t miss this one).

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59 Comments

  1. Gotta love the long-winded insults. Magnum dudes be trippin’!

    Comment by Lane — July 2, 2007 @ 12:41 am

  2. Interesting letter, but I personally don’t believe firing at Martin Parr or even having his membership revoked(don’t think it’s possible, eh?) would not guarantee Magnum vote another controversial photographer in one day. The reason being that the agency has grown from 4 members to over 60 in last 60 years and to have 2/3 of extremely talent yet individualistic photographer to agree on one thing is a tremendous task.

    Comment by Ben — July 2, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  3. Just further proof that all photographers are jerks.
    I say that as a photographer and a jerk.

    Comment by jon — July 2, 2007 @ 12:49 am

  4. I’m mostly concerned about Parr using film in his digital camera, as mentioned in the entry. I think this kind of innovation, while truly an unusual and creative move, is contrary to Magnum’s ideals and traditions.

    Comment by David — July 2, 2007 @ 1:38 am

  5. curmudgeon

    Comment by robert — July 2, 2007 @ 1:39 am

  6. Are we to take that Parr’s co-author on the Photobooks I & II is calling for his head, or calling for laughing our head’s off? Certainly, someone does not look flattering in that last letter, assuming you take it at face value.

    Comment by chris — July 2, 2007 @ 2:03 am

  7. Long ass joke for an old dude.

    Comment by Taylor — July 2, 2007 @ 2:39 am

  8. I may be missing something here, but as far as I know Gerry Badger is British, and to my British sensibilities, that whole piece sounds pretty much like the two of them are good friends. As I say, maybe I am missing something. Maybe Alec was kidding ? Maybe there is a feud I don’t know about. But without that knowledge I would say that was simply supposed to be a witty article.

    I must say that I laughed out loud at this bit, and still am:-

    “Three minutes later, not a scrap of food remained upon the table. WHAT THE HELL WOULD PARR PHOTOGRAPH?”

    Comment by Robert Phillips — July 2, 2007 @ 3:50 am

  9. […] parr1.jpg Last week I mentioned the new Magnum nominees. In response, one reader noted that newcomers usually have lobbyists within the membership. Martin Parr commented in agreement source: Badgering Parr, alec soth – blog […]

    Pingback by Badgering Parr — Software Freeware User Manuals Tips and Advice — July 2, 2007 @ 4:37 am

  10. Ah Martin Parr and his bastard love children THE CARAVAN GALLERY, God love um, hope no one paid him for the party shots!

    Comment by mark page — July 2, 2007 @ 4:38 am

  11. …I always knew Magnum were a band of brothers. On another note, I’m curious whether anybody has ever been approached/invited to join?
    i enjoy your posts!/Christoph

    Comment by cmb — July 2, 2007 @ 5:56 am

  12. Yes guys,

    My blog about Martin and Alec was just a bit of fun. We’re all good mates (I hope) and regard both of them as two of the most important photographers working. Actually the party was the most enjoyable event in years, although the booze did run out as I said.

    When Alec posted the link to Martin’s party pictures and said especially this one, it was going to be one of me, not Philip. I thought I’d managed to stay downwind of his camera all night.

    Comment by Gerry Badger — July 2, 2007 @ 6:48 am

  13. I stopped reading when he described his date as “fragrant”.

    Comment by mdm — July 2, 2007 @ 7:23 am

  14. i thought a magnum party would be a bunch of serious depressed fatalistic dudes talking about serious issues like injustice serious climate change and the end of the world. but hey, seems like you actually know how to have some serious fun.

    fun reading.

    Comment by Tomé Duarte — July 2, 2007 @ 7:47 am

  15. At a recent film festival, Jerry Seinfeld was present promoting his summer animated film feature, four years in the making. There were puns and jokes aplenty from the assembled press, playing on the name of the movie. Seinfeld is reported to have born two or three of these with equanimity, but finallly told the crowd in effect, “OK! We’ll take care of the comedy from here on out.”

    I thought of that story while reading this 2nd or 3rd hand stuff and its comments: people should probably stick with what they know how to do best; in this case presumably, photography. This post does little credit to any of the luminaries involved. Sarcasm and irony really do need a stronger context than the web and a blog in order to stand up and be effective. And having to explain your joke is the truest sign of failure.

    …edN

    Comment by Ed Nixon — July 2, 2007 @ 8:23 am

  16. Ed, I see that the mission statement of your new blog says ‘When you visit, you’ll see interesting, perhaps challenging things, you’ll find new ideas about photography.”

    Then your third post asks questions like “Is every photograph art?” and “Does digital make a difference?”

    You might want to rethink your position on sarcasm and irony.

    Comment by Alec Soth — July 2, 2007 @ 9:24 am

  17. Although I was not at the Essex House, I did get a chance to see the Magnum photographers at play at the Paolo Pellegrin opening a couple of Fridays ago. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the strange combination of photographs from Lebanon, house music and people making out on the “dance floor”.*

    *Note: I did not see any Magnum photographers make out. Thankfully.

    Comment by Annabel Clark — July 2, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  18. While we’re on the subject of MAgnum… what happened to Eugene Richards? It’s nice to see Magnum expanding their palette a bit with people like Soth and the recent new inductees…the tilted leica look has been long in the tooth for sometime now.

    Comment by Steven — July 2, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  19. Christoph, yes, it is common that photographers are asked to apply to Magnum.

    Steven, Eugene Richards is currently with VII.

    Annabel, we’re all still trying to wrap our heads around that Magnum party. The NY Times just wrote about it here. The weirdest thing for me about the party was that I met my Doppelgänger. He was from Cuba. A bunch of people took pictures, but nobody has sent them to me.

    Comment by Alec Soth — July 2, 2007 @ 10:44 am

  20. Very entertaining reading, thank you.

    Comment by Chris McGreevy — July 2, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  21. I think Parr should go! his pictures are colorful, people as they are….and (gasp) not centered. And where is his prerequisite crying woman shot? How did this guy get into Magnum again?

    Comment by Joe Giordano — July 2, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  22. >

    this is a pun on a famous British Legal case where Jeffrey Archer, the ruling Conservative Party chairman, (much like Tom Delay) was being prosecuted for using a hooker. or denying a newspaper story of it, or something. He was obviously guilty, but.. his wife gave persuasive ‘evidence’ in his defense, the ancient judge fell for her guff, and in a famous legal summary to the jury said that they should remember her persuasive evidence, stating “is she not fragrant?”
    the judge was a naive sucker, and Archer got off, but… two years later the whole story got revealed, and he was prosecuted for perjury (successfully) and ended up in prison. a rare example of justice prevailing, on one odious worm.

    Mr. Badger is punning on that, I believe.

    having said all this. I find all this Magnum coverage tedious nonsense, as is 90% of Magnum photography. sorry, but thats how it is…

    Comment by narikin — July 2, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  23. ” I stopped reading when he described his date as ‘fragrant’ ”.

    is what I referred to but for some reason that got cut from post

    Comment by narikin — July 2, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

  24. Good one, Got me fooled completely…….

    Comment by Ben — July 2, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  25. Just to be clear, the Philip Jones Griffiths letter is not a joke. But hysterical nonetheless.

    Comment by Alec Soth — July 2, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  26. this is hilarious. a great bit of satire. i would like to see more bruce gilden in the next installment, now that guy sounds like a character.

    Comment by ross — July 2, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  27. Martin and Gerry are source of all evil in the world.

    We need to protect all the idealistic Magnum photographers from the likes of those two.

    But just one question: How can I learn to take pictures with a Styrofoam coffee cup on my flash?

    JG

    Comment by John gossage — July 2, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  28. Seems to me a blog about Magnum politics. Not about the Magnum politics of yesterday, but about the ones of today. Or is it reallly just a piece about irony and yesterdays? I don´t understand, but it is interesting.

    Comment by Zoltán Jókay — July 2, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  29. More self-aggrandizement from a sadly unimpeachable photo agency. Yawn. Here’s a hat trick: see it upon yourselves from your puff perches to “invite” some more people of color into the crop. Or how about a single fucking Asian?

    Comment by John — July 2, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  30. Don’t Hiroji Kubota and Chien-Chi Chang count?

    Comment by Alec Soth — July 2, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

  31. It’s a shame to see the thread getting as contentious as all this – this sort of tone doesn’t allow for thoughtful discussion.

    There’s LOTS to be discussed about Magnum, its members, its role in contemporary photography, etc and so on. But to discuss it civilly would be considerably more productive.

    Comment by Jen Bekman — July 2, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

  32. Abbas and Raghu Rai too…….

    Comment by Ben — July 2, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

  33. gerry badger should write a blog. it would rule so much.

    Comment by aizan — July 2, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

  34. Very interesting, but was Parr using black and white “film” at this party? I understand the tomatoes and pastries were quicklly devoured, but is this the best he can do – making fun of the geezers? Why not make fun of the skateboarding junior members?

    I met Gerry Badger over drinks for the first time a couple of nights after this event (assuming “July” means “June”) and I can’t believe I missed some great stories. I am glad I told him that I think Alex’ blog is the best on the web.

    And what’s this about Deborah Bell and down and dirty race music? Last time I chatted with her about tunes she was a Pearl Jam fan.

    Comment by Marc Freidus — July 2, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  35. Also, check out Magnum’s appending of keywords to Martin Parr’s photos. Possibly funnier than Gerry’s post. It takes eagle eyes to append “white people” as a search term. Can I search the Magnum archive for pictures of “black people”?

    Comment by Marc Freidus — July 2, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

  36. Why do I feel the urge to flick my lighter, raise it high and say blog on Alec, blog on? Here’s to the forum for those who get it, and those who don’t.

    Comment by Mel Trittin — July 2, 2007 @ 9:39 pm

  37. Alec,

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by my weblog and to mention it. Your response to its contents and my comment above makes my point: I meant those questions in straightforward honesty, as questions I’m grappling with, that arise often for me and others. Your response — assuming I understand its tenor (which is far from certain) — seems to show that sarcasm and irony are very much in the eye of the beholder — now you see it, now someone else doesn’t.

    Based on your lead in which I took at face value, the extended quote that followed had no spin, i.e., irony, at all. It appeared to me to be a bitchy and rather puerile screed.

    Now, I’m no further ahead. I honestly don’t know what to believe about the content and dynamics of this data. If you don’t feel any obliigation or responsiblity in this regard, I don’t know what to say except pardon me for being a humourless curmugeon.

    …edN

    Comment by Ed Nixon — July 3, 2007 @ 6:42 am

  38. “It would be the embracing of a sworn enemy whose meteoric rise in Magnum was closely linked with the moral climate of Thatcher’s rule.”
    Philip Jones Griffiths on Martin Parr

    Which “moral climate” is Martin Parr “closely linked” today?
    Is he looking back at the Thatcher days with nostalgia?

    Comment by Jay Watkins — July 3, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  39. That was a terrific letter. I’m glad Mr. Badger asked you to put it up. To say it softly, Mr. Badger could write circles around squares. If he ever sends more letters your way for the blog, I’m all for reading them.

    Comment by Michael C. G. — July 3, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  40. The posted pics show that “Magnum” has become a repository for the elderly . Especially the shots of Jones Griffiths make me think of wheelchairs and oxygen tanks.

    Comment by PeeWee — July 3, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  41. One of the greatest assets of Magnum is that it respects experience. In an era when everything under the sun is marketed to 16 year olds, it is an honor to learn from people who’ve actually experienced something.

    Comment by Alec Soth — July 3, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

  42. just out of interest, has Philip Jones Griffiths changed his mind about Mr Parr?

    Comment by Amy — July 3, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

  43. I really doubt it.

    Comment by Alec Soth — July 3, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

  44. I just want to know who was pissing in the garden…

    Comment by Stephan — July 4, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  45. Ouch. Puts a whole new complex on things that might happen moments after the beer has run out.

    Comment by Amy — July 4, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  46. […] Badgering Parr — Martin Parr fans, do not miss this story on Alec Soth’s blog, it’s hilarious […]

    Pingback by Joe Reifer - Words » Blog Archive » Stars and stripes, Parr, prints — July 4, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

  47. I am genuinely sorry to have missed that party.

    Comment by Zoe Strauss — July 5, 2007 @ 12:37 am

  48. Perhaps it is difficult to equate ‘product’ with ‘experience’. Even if it lead to fame. I believe that Jones Griffiths ‘vietnam inc.’ is an outstanding example of ‘personal opinion’ which blended in perfectly with the mood of the time. His later work on Vietnam is immensely forgettable.

    Comment by PeeWee — July 5, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  49. “Immensly forgettable” I wish! Take a look at “Agent Orange: Collateral Damage in Vietnam” Published by Trolley in 2004.

    Comment by Aled Hughes — July 5, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  50. I’m with Ed Nixon: Badger should leave satire to the satirists. This was painful to read: perhaps funny for those who were there, but to the less initiated it sounds sour and graceless.

    Comment by Dan Sumption — July 6, 2007 @ 12:50 am

  51. WTF? Are we really going to continue to waste time debating whether or not Gerry Badger’s post was “truly” satirical? What the hell is wrong with you people? Why is it that all of the sour, graceless, and humorless curmudgeons always find the time to write in various blogs attempting to piss on everyone’s parade? Hmmmm…………

    Comment by Chuck Shacochis — July 6, 2007 @ 9:32 am

  52. […] I take back almost all of those bad things I may ever have said about Gerry Badger, whose writing long ago in the British Journal of Photography was surely designed to wring the most from curmudgeonly misers by using twenty five words where one would have been more appropriate, surely sacrificing clarity for another thousand words at their ridiculously low rates. His letter, recently published by Alec Soth under the heading Badgering Parr is a hilarious account of Magnum’s recent New York sheenanigans. What makes it even more hilarious are the responses of some of the readers, some of whom show a complete inability to comprehend irony – and I assume Soth’s introduction was meant to provoke such AOL responses. I’m not going to join in the controversy about whether Deborah Bell is ‘fragrant‘ but she is certainly one of the nicest gallery owners I’ve met. […]

    Pingback by >Re: PHOTO » Blog Archive » Alec Soth: Badgering Parr — July 6, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  53. Too bad the booze ran out, I bet there would have been some spectacular fistfights if the booze kept going.

    Comment by Derek — July 7, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  54. More like cane fights.

    Comment by PeeWee — July 7, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

  55. Meanwhile far away from NYC, I’ve just been to the wonderful Martin Parr Retrospective at City Hall (the old High Court) in Singapore. Aaah England … my England of small village protestants, brummies in a car park, fairy cakes & bad weather (like a Jam Song with a better sense of humour). You have to see this show.

    The Exhibition Hall in Singapore holds a certain ironic personal and historic poignancy for me:

    1) I’ve actually presented a training course to Singapore Lawyers in the hall (‘Understanding Financial statements for Lawyers’ email me if you want the powerpoint slides),

    2) It’s the place where the Japanese formally surrendered at the end of World War II to Lord Mountbatten. There was a Japanese sword and portraits of austere Singaporean Chief Justices hanging on the wall when I was there last.

    I can just imagine General MacArthur twirling in his grave at Parr’s cherry blossom and Japanese brow shots.

    Comment by Jon G — July 8, 2007 @ 7:24 am

  56. Interesting. I’ve been in that same hall for some official gathering many moons ago. Martin Parr’s photos and the Chief Justices mingling…Lord Mountbatten, the later Viceroy of India – or ‘Dickie’ would have agreed as long as his portrait would have been the largest in the hall.

    Comment by PeeWee — July 8, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  57. C’mon Peter (Re: PHOTO), our rates aren’t that bad…

    Comment by Simon Bainbridge — July 10, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  58. Watch it, fellas: I’ll clock anyone who says anything mean about Deborah Bell.

    Comment by Walter Dufresne — July 12, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  59. Regarding Gerry’s sarcastic writing and Martin’s satirical photography, I can only say that if no one complains then it’s probably not worth a damn anyway. What’s not to be hated is not to be loved. However, I cannot come to Serra’s defense with this same reasoning. I wish they were spacecrafts because at least UFOs are hard to find!

    And finally, I will likewise slug anyone who talks bad about Deborah Bell!

    Comment by Adam Bezer — August 2, 2007 @ 8:14 pm


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