Beaches have been a rich source of material throughout Martin Parr's career. His images are filled with people sunbathing, sleeping, reading, exercising and eating, on territory staked out with towels, deckchairs and windbreaks. Beaches are places where not just human bodies, but also the quirks of human behaviour, are laid bare.
For Martin, one of the world's most popular and distinctive documentary photographers, beaches are also the places where he experiments with new equipment and techniques. It's a tradition that goes back to the beginning of his career. In the early 1970s he shot some of his first black-and-white images on beaches. His later approaches, such as using wide-angle lenses, colour film and flash, or a macro lens and ring flash, have all been tested at beach locations.
So when the Magnum Photos photographer decided to experiment with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, beaches were his first destination. He found he enjoyed discovering new creative possibilities by exploiting the lens's flexibility and compressed perspective. Thanks to the lens's four-stop Image Stabiliser, he found he could shoot with the camera handheld while capturing sharp images.