Martin Parr Foundation Collection Database

Martin Parr (Creator), Jenni Smith (Creator), Louis Little (Creator), Isaac Blease (Creator), Jonathan Hyams (Developer), Charlie Davies (Developer)

Research output: Non-textual formData set/Database


This password protected Database, under development since 2016, catalogues curated works, accumulated since the 1970’s, with approximately half of the collection from UK photographers. It includes many of the books that appeared in the Photobook Volumes I (2004), II (2006) and III (2014) as well as some duplicates of the 12,000 books donated to the Tate Modern collection.

Other empherma such as a back catalogue of Creative Camera magazines, and unique artefacts like one off book dummies or prints by other photographers and researchers are integrated into the collection. This in-house system within the Martin Parr Foundation systematically and effectively enables use of the vast physical library collection of artefacts, connecting related works. To the best of our knowledge, it brings for the first time, a system for members, academics and researchers to interrogate and connect Photobook artefacts for research purposes. In addition to the books publishing metadata, the database keyword infrastructure between 10-15 (and often upwards) search tags, including;

1. Core Information (the Medium, the Era(s) book covers, Geographical Location(s), Nationality of Artist/Photographer).
2. Core themes/topics (Community, Industry, Relationship, Leisure, Family, Gender, Nature etc.)
3. Content descriptive information (e.g. Coal, funeral, The Troubles, Mountain etc.)
4. Additional authors within a book, such as those providing a foreword to a photobook are identifiable and collected within database searches.

Each book has a description/synopsis, which is usually sourced from the book's publisher or a credible source. For books with no online bio a reproduction of the book blurb is included or in its absence, a short text objectively outlining the content including its physical attributes is authored. The database has a function called Groupings, which allows multiple items to be collated within a Group of related research artefacts. This enables a deeper investigation of research themes within the Photobook movement.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMartin Parr Foundation Library
Media of outputOnline
Sizein-house at MPF
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 10 Nov 2017


  • Photobook
  • Photography
  • Martin Parr Foundation
  • MPF
  • Collection


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