Between 2006 and 2008 Martin Parr documented the beach culture in Latin American countries whilst travelling with his wife Susie (whose text accompanies the photos in the book). The book is a celebration of life and behaviour on the beaches of Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
“Each of these countries has a different approach to their beach life” says Parr, “if you are in Argentina’s largest resort, Mar de la Plata, you are very likely to be drinking ‘mate’, whereas elsewhere you will drink beer and coke. Should you be on the beach of Rio, you will most probably be wearing a very skimpy swimsuit whereas in Mexico’s Acapulco you will be bathing in a t-shirt. Despite these differences, all the beaches have something in common: wherever you are in Latin America you are very likely to have a great variety of food, drinks and souvenirs offered to you as you sunbathe. The constant trail of vendors creates a cast of great characters.”
All this activity plays perfectly into the hands of Martin Parr, resulting in a surreal and revealing portrait of life in Latin America and a funny and affectionate document on the way people entertain themselves.
The book is printed to look purposely cheap, with noticeable imperfections, somewhat like a book you'd find in 99-cent store, complete with offset colours and gaudy clip-art style graphics.
Read Charles Dee Mitchell's review of Playas on photo-eye's Magazine.