Martin Parr: Pleasures of the immediate

The Magnum photographer will be snapping revellers at the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall this weekend

Matilda Battersby@matildbattersby
Wednesday 07 October 2015 09:41

Magnum photographer Martin Parr will be at Port Eliot in Cornwall this weekend for the festival snapping away at revellers to produce an instant exhibition called The Pleasures of the Immediate.

It means festival-goers will stand every chance of being featured in an exhibition that they will be visiting. Parr and his studio team will evolve and update the collection of around 50 photographs as the festival continues.

They will be exhibited in the basement of the house at Port Eliot, the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the country. Each year 5,000 people descend on the country house estate for the festival of books, food, music, art, comedy, fashion and film.

Here, Martin Parr explains his motivation:

“I very much like the premise of showing the photos to the people who are in them. There is no better, or keener, audience for a photograph than the sitters themselves and it is this basic conceit that will drive the exhibition.

I have done smaller shows like this at the Venice Biennale, but nothing on this scale. We’re bringing in a big printer and a whole team of people to make it work; throwing everything behind this to make it exciting and constantly changing.

I’ll be shooting and documenting the festival as it unfolds and people will have the chance to come and see themselves in the exhibition – and all the other photos that I’ve taken as the weekend progresses.

I started coming to Port Eliot Festival pretty early on, when I was invited to do a talk. I’ve had a relationship with the festival and the house ever since. It is now part of my summer calendar and I always look forward to it.

I don’t go to many other festivals. Port Eliot stands out for me because it’s very laid back and it’s very good to look at. It’s quintessentially English, but quite international at the same time. I’m looking forward to roaming all over the place. I love the whole atmosphere of the House; it’s a very real, very lived in aristocracy – a combination of charm and threadbare.”

Click here or on the image to see photographs by Parr taken at previous Port Eliot Festivals

Port Eliot Festival is 21-24 July 2011, for more information visit

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