This is Martin Parr's journey into and beyond the cliches of Mexico - a photographic enquiry into the battle being fought out on the streets of Mexico between visual cultures: Mexican vernacular versus the brands of American and global consumerism. While we are at once in recognizable territory - many of the series' visual themes will be familiar to Parr fans, including colourful and mocking close ups of food, hats, signs and souvenirs, garishly shot with medical efficiency - there are new motifs here too. For instance, the series includes portraits of Mexican working men sporting baseball caps with American logos; what is surprising for Parr is how he grips us with straight records of human faces, with photographer and subject both in the act of mutual contemplation. Parr's Mexico photographs are typically comic and direct, balancing affection and rudeness towards his subjects. His essay offers a critique of globalisation, even while Parr is clearly captivated by the visual pollution it generates.
Martin Parr is a key figure in the world of photography - artist, collector, curator and writer - and is recognised as a brilliant satirist of contemporary life. Author of over 30 photography books, including Common Sense, Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight and Boring Postcards, his photographs have been collected by museums worldwide, including the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the New York Museum of Modern Art, and Tate Modern, London. He lives in Bristol, England, and is a member of Magnum Photos. Rogelio Villarreal is a Mexican cultural critic and iconoclast. He is the Editorial Director of Replicante magazine, published in Mexico City.