Magnum president Martin Parr is set to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award at this year's Sony World Photo awards

ITALY. Venice. 2005. © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

Internationally-recognised British documentary photographer Martin Parr is set to receive the Sony World Photography Awards’ ‘Outstanding Contribution to Photography’ title this year, to be presented at the awards ceremony in London this April.

To coincide with the awards, an exhibition of some of his early monochrome work is planned for presentation at Somerset House from April 21st to May 7th, together with some of his best-known work, films and books. In addition, Parr will be giving a talk, available to the public, at the London School of Economics (LSE) on April 21st.

With a characteristic focus on leisure, consumption and communication, Parr’s career has spanned over four decades. Distinctive, challenging and often ambiguous, his work is credited with drawing out the drama of every-day life, and his reflections on national characteristics and international phenomena have earned him considerable respect in the field of documentary photography over the years. In 2014, he was voted President of Magnum Photos International, having been a member since the late eighties.

ITALY. Pisa. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. From ‘Small World’. 1990.
© Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

According to the World Photography Organisation, its this quality that has earned him his Contribution award. Scott Gray, CEO of the WPO writes: “Martin Parr’s work has transcended all the usual boundaries of photography and shown that the medium is a hugely powerful means of communication. As an artist Parr has created a unique visual language that is deeply serious, but its inherent humour has ensured that his work has an almost global understanding.

“Great integrity and commitment to the medium of photography is the common thread that links each of our previous Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award recipients. These are qualities that Martin Parr has consistently displayed throughout his career and why we are proud to present him this title in the 10th anniversary of the Sony World Photography Awards.”

Parr himself said: “It is a great honour to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Photography title, especially knowing the illustrious previous recipients such as William Klein and William Eggleston. It is also very re-assuring to see the World Photography Organisation and Sony’s continuing support for all aspects of contemporary photography, through this exhibition and this season of awards.”

The Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s largest photography competition. The shortlist for the 2017 awards will be announced February 28. Tickets for Parr’s London seminar and the full winners’ exhibition can be found at www.worldphoto.org/2017exhibition.