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Martin Parr releases book on quaint UK village 30 years after photographing it

A Year in the Life of Chew Stoke Village
Baby weighing at the Women’s Institute, Chew Stoke, 1992 (Image credit: Martin Parr)

Some 30 years after Martin Parr was commissioned to document the village of Chew Stoke in Somerset, England, he is releasing 40 unseen images in his brand new book, A Year in the Life of Chew Stoke Village. Parr shares work from this lesser-known project, which explores everything the village has to offer from its pubs and cricket clubs to jumble sales and jars of preserves.

Internationally recognized as one of the most important post-war documentary photographers, Martin Parr’s work has become instantly recognizable through his colorful, true-to-life imagery. Over the course of a year, Parr became well acquainted with the residents of Chew Stoke where he often visited alongside journalist Robert Chesshyre.

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Methodist Church cream tea, Chew Stoke, 1992 (Image credit: Martin Parr)

Originally the project was published in a 16-page feature in The Telegraph Magazine but now, 30 years on and with the project still relevant, Parr has made the decision to revisit it with this new book. 

Freelance journalist, Diane Smythe contributed text to the book and described it as "an affectionate portrait of a place, a vision that’s perhaps surprisingly warm for a photographer known for irony."

Picking up apples, Chew Stoke, 1992 (Image credit: Martin Parr)

Day trip, Chew Stoke, 1992 (Image credit: Martin Parr)

Chesshyre and Parr had previously worked together on the 1989 book, The Cost of Living. Together they documented the impact of Thatcherism, the rise of the middle class and how it changed Britain. Although this project tackles a much softer subject, Chew Stoke wasn’t immune to the consequences of the Thatcher regime as even the most quintessential of villages felt its strain.

A Year in the Life of Stoke Village (opens in new tab) will be published as a 104-page hardcover book, with its release set for the end of September. There will be 50 special edition copies on sale for £450 (approximately $490 / AU$750), which includes a pair of 10 x 10-inch limited pigment prints signed by Martin Parr, while the regular edition will cost a much more affordable £48 ($52 / AU$80). 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.