Martin Parr is the quintessential anorak. How could he not be, raised by intrepid curtain-twitchers whose weekends were spent bird-watching at a sewage farm in Surrey? He’s gone on to collect everything from John Hinde postcards to Saddam Hussein wristwatches, but his speciality is categorising people. Sharpen your pencils and focus your binoculars, Parr spotters: it’s time to familiarise yourself with some of his favourites.
This headless, bare-chested joe clutching his Kwik Save carriers on a street in Salford in 1986 is an uncommon example of a very common species. More often, the shopper is fully clothed and female. An industrious gatherer, her native habitat is the mall and the supermarket, where she reaches and grabs frenziedly or else stands rooted to the spot by bags heavy with her haul. The shopper can be spied the world over, inspecting bruised apples in St Petersburg or hauling bolts of Laura Ashley fabric in southern England.