Lonely Planet Writer

Everyday life in Scotland captured over 25 years by award winning photographer

A new book of images by Magnum photographer Martin Parr has been published that offers an intriguing look at everyday life in Scotland over a 25-year period. Featuring his largest collection of previously unpublished work to date, the book captures a dynamic range of Scotland’s visual iconography, including Highland games, stunning landscapes, bagpipers, football matches and bake sales.

GB. Scotland. Stonehaven. 2006.
GB. Scotland. Stonehaven. 2006. Image by Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

Published by Damiani, Think of Scotland sees Martin Parr focusing his attention on common sights and scenes, transforming them with his now unique signature style. From images of tourists on the rainy streets of Edinburgh to agricultural shows in Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, the project saw the photographer building up a massive archive of work, and while he has published over 90 books throughout his career and edited another 30, the majority of images in the current collection were largely unreleased for a long time. “What a pleasure to finally have some of the Scottish images, accumulated over many years, published in this volume,” Martin Parr said.

GB. Scotland. Shetland. 2004. Image for use only in connection with direct publicity for the book Think of Scotland by Martin Parr. These images are for one time use only and must not be electronically stored in a media asset retrieval database. Up to two images can be used without fees for inside print use up to 1/2 page only and up to four images can be used online up to 1000px across. Please contact Magnum to use on any front covers. Images must be credited Martin Parr/Magnum Photos Images must not be overlaid with text, cropped or altered in anyway without permission from Magnum Photos.
GB. Scotland. Shetland. 2004. Image by Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

The book features images taken in public spaces, with some shots showing people dozing on public transport, while another depicts friends eating mussels and drinking Irn Bru in a café. Other photographs are of objects and scenes devoid of people, such as scarecrows in fields or clothes drying on washing lines. While the book features shots that could have been taken anywhere in Britain, some of the themes are typically Scottish. “It has all the things you would expect to see in Scotland. Highland games, the kilt, Scottish dancing, the food. All the things you associate with Scotland in terms of clichés are things that I like,” said Martin Parr. An exhibition featuring the photographs is also due to take place at the newly-opened Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2018.

GB. Scotland. Glasgow. 1995. Rangers fans at the funeral of player Davie Cooper, who died of a brain haemorrhage three years after retiring from the game and was one of the most loved and respected players in Scotland.
GB. Scotland. Glasgow. 1995. Rangers fans at the funeral of Davie Cooper, who died of a brain hemorrhage three years after retiring from the game and was one of the most loved and respected players in Scotland. Image by Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

Born in Epsom, Surrey in 1952, Martin Parr studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic from 1970 to 1973, and began his work as a professional photographer following that. Having developed an international reputation for his social documentary, his imagery has become synonymous with Britain, while many of his projects also concentrate on everyday life in other countries. In 1994 he became a full member of Magnum Photographic Cooperative.

Orkney Islands. The East Mainland Show. 2007.
Orkney Islands. The East Mainland Show. 2007. Image by Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

Published on 5 October, Think of Scotland features 100 colour photographs and costs £30 in the United Kingdom and €35 in other European countries. It is available in select bookstores or from the official Damiani website.