British photographer Martin Parr chronicles the places he visits through the prolific documentation of everyday objects and scenes that expose cultural peculiarities and clichés. With a characteristic style that is deliberately garish and all-the-more arresting for it, his trademark images, “acquired” as pieces of his larger reflections on a theme, engross the viewer with saturated colours, unusual perspective, and extreme cropping. Parr turns his critical eye on the public, cataloguing both the exceedingly social and embarrassingly personal aspects of our daily lives with a brazen exaggeration that reflects his unique vision.

Commissioned to focus his lens on Toronto for a site-specific installation, Parr selected Pearson International Airport to present a collection of images based on his ongoing interest in travel and globalization. For a number of years, he has cast a satirical gaze at tourism, consumerism, and the leisure lifestyle, often looking at issues around the consumption and culture of food. Here, Parr highlights his interest in how the foods we buy, cook, and eat reflect broader cultural values and mediate between local and international contexts. Enlivening the terminal’s moving sidewalks, his large-format images of food documented in Toronto and around the world reveal humour, irony, and no shortage of colour. Travellers encounter a dizzying gastronomic feast for the eyes, from the sickly-sweet hues of a whimsical, rainbow layer-cake to links of cured sausages glistening in the harsh light of Parr’s flash.

This project was made possible with support from Penny Rubinoff and the Art Gallery of Ontario, who hosted Parr’s visit to Toronto in October 2012. 

Presented in partnership with Toronto Pearson International Airport