deja view

Martin Parr & The Anonymous Project

A new exhibition in partnership with Magnum Photos and The Anonymous Project

29 June 25 September 2022

→ DUNKIRK, from 3 to 25 September, on the Allies’ dike
Opening on 2 September at 6.30pm

The Institut pour la photographie presents, in partnership with The Anonymous Project and Magnum Photos, an original exhibition based on the book Déjà View by Martin Parr and Lee Shulman, published by Textuel en 2021. 

Colour photography developed in the 1930s with slides and was initially an amateur activity. The Anonymous Project’s large collection of over 500,000 amateur colour slides bears witness to this craze which became extremely popular in the 1940s. However, it was not until the 1970s that colour photography was recognised by the specialist community for its aesthetic qualities. The British photographer, Martin Parr, born in 1952, is a pioneer in this field.

For more than fifty years, Martin Parr has, with a certain degree of irony, depicted contemporary society through everyday life, in particular using the effects of framing and saturated colours characteristic of early colour photographs. Holidays or leisure activities, the privileged setting for amateur shots, are among the photographer’s favourite subjects.

This visual conversation between Martin Parr’s photographs and the Anonymous Project’s amateur photographers reveals a sharp eye and a deep understanding of our society. His images give us an impression of “déjà vu” and invite us to question our habits.

Tenky, Wales, 2019 © Martin Parr — Magnum Photos
Tenky, Wales, 2019 © Martin Parr — Magnum Photos


Born in Epsom in 1952, Martin Parr is one of the most renowned documentary photographers of his generation. He works and lives in Bristol, where he opened his foundation in 2017 : the Martin Parr Foundation.

He trained between 1970 and 1973 at Manchester Polytechnic and joined the Magnum agency in 1994. He is a major and prolific figure in contemporary British photography around the world, with a hundred published photographic books. His personal archive of 50 000 photographs has been included in the collections of major museums such as MoMA in New York, the Centre Pompidou, the Tate Modern in London. Several solo exhibitions also have been devoted to him.

Imbued with realism, Martin Parr surprises with the kitschy motifs of his photographs and his unusual use of perspectives. His humoristic pictures are famous for their vivid colors and garish lights. Martin Parr offers a new vision of the world and society, that is always accessible and direct. His simple and straightforward photography is always striking.

Sometimes described as a chronicler of his time, Martin Parr is also a great lover and collector of unusual objects and vernacular photography ; thus, the collaboration with The Anonymous Project appears obvious.

© The Anonymous Project


The Anonymous Project is a huge collection of vernacular colour slides and a unique preservation project. Almost 800 000 have already been collected and preserved.

The project was initiated in 2017 by London-based filmmaker Lee Shulman (born in 1973) when he bought a box of vintage slides and became fascinated by all the unique stories they contained. He then began a meticulous process of collecting, selecting and telling the stories of Kodachrome slides from the early 1950s.

In 1950, colour photography became accessible to the greatest number of people and was integrated into every moment of daily life. Preserving and showing them off  is a project dedicated to the individual and collective memory of an era. This project also highlights the work involved in selecting the images, a decisive process in the construction of the photographic narrative which importance if often minimised in relation to the shooting.

These blurred and imprecise amateur photographs represent a unique heritage for telling the story of our lives and those of the ones who came before us. The Anonymous Project is dedicated to their preservation and creates new modes of interpretation to (re)discover our world.

Exhibition curator : Anne Lacoste
Produced in collaboration with the library of Le Portel and the Château Coquelle in Dunkirk, and in partnership with the City of Le Portel and the City and Urban Community of Dunkirk
Exhibition conceived as a touring exhibition, presented in Portel, from 29 June to 28 August, on the lower dike, promenade de l’Épi.