Informed Taste

Martin Parr’s 1991 project ‘Signs of the Times‘ is shortly going on show at the Beetles and Huxley Gallery in London. The photographic essay, published as a book in 1992, was a caustic look at the English obsession with taste and social status as conveyed through interior design (the photographs accompanied a BBC documentary by Nicholas Barker). This was the era before ‘design’ was commodified through magazines and TV, when taste was almost inherited rather than acquired.

Above left: ‘Anyone else would go to Bentalls and buy lace Carol goes to Brighton.’ 1991.’ Above right: ‘I think we are lucky to have informed taste – with my position as a fine arts valuer’. Parr and Barker also collaborated on the series ‘From A to B: Tales of Modern Motoring‘, which performs a similar social skewering on the automotive choices and prejudices of mid-90s Britain. See also Barker’s ‘Unmade Beds‘. Parr’s still images can be found here: From A to B.

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