Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Martin Parr Meets Reality TV

© Martin Parr
Martin Parr has signed up to be a judge on a new reality TV show, Picture This, on Channel 4 in Britain. From the Independent:
Musicals and opera have already been given the reality television treatment; now it is the turn of photography. A new Channel 4 series, Picture This, takes six wannabe snappers and sets them assignments over the course of three weeks, eliminating the unsuccessful contestants until just two remain to battle it out for the prize.

Martin Parr, the acclaimed photographer best known for his colourful pictures of British seaside life, is one of the three judges on the show.

The documentary photographer became involved with Picture This because he believes that photography is not given the prominence it deserves in the UK, whereas in other European countries and in the United States it is celebrated as an important art form.

Before agreeing to take part, Parr met the programme-makers several times to discuss the concept. "My thinking was that if we've got this very good slot to give oxygen to photography, it's probably good to be involved to make sure it's not bad. TV-makers usually don't know much about photography," he says.
Judging by the judges alone Picture This promises to be a cut above the weak sauce that is VH1's The Shot, but has Martin jumped the shark here? Do you buy his giving "oxygen to photography" line or is this the natural next step for an artist who has made a career of celebrating and subverting the excesses of our culture?
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