Martin Parr was born in Epsom, Surrey, UK, in 1952. His interest in the medium of photography was encouraged by his grandfather George Parr, himself a keen amateur photographer. He studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic from 1970 to 1973 and since that time, he has worked on numerous photographic projects. He became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1994. In recent years, he has developed an interest in filmmaking, and has started to use his photography within different conventions, such as fashion and advertising.

His work has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and was awarded numerous times.

Martin Parr was Guest Artistic Director for Rencontres D'Arles in 2004. He is also curating photo events, such as the New Typologies exhibition within the New York Photo Festival in 2008, or the Brighton Photo Biennial in 2010.

He has developed an international reputation for his innovative imagery, his oblique approach to social documentary, and his input to photographic culture within the UK and abroad.