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Martin Parr: Talking about the Weather

Martin Parr’s “A Year in the Life of Chew Stoke” is exactly what it sounds like. The book chronicles life in a rural village on the outskirts of Bristol. Runs the year 1992.

“Chew Stoke is shaped like an asymmetric spider, lanes going off in several directions like ill-coordinated legs. (...) The population of 850 has barely changed in 150 years, but the number of houses has doubled to 316, reflecting the far smaller families of today,” writes journalist Robert Chesshyre in the text, drawn from an article originally commissioned by the Telegraph.

Picking up apples, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Methodist Church cream tea, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

A wedding, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Harvest Home, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Day trip, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

In the book, Martin Parr brings into question what it means for an English village to be “typical”, using the elements that constitute that façade and then reaching far beyond in the way he photographs people, their expressions, details, body language. He titles the images “A Wedding”, “A Funeral”, “Rugby Match” with his distinctive simplicity, suited to compose the puzzle of a complex reality.

Chew Stoke Cricket Club, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

The Annual Review, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Fitness class, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Mowing the lawn, Chew Stoke, 1992 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

“A Year in the Life of Chew Stoke” is published by RRB Photobooks and available at the price of £48.

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