A Mini Tour of World Parking with Photographs from Martin Parr

Excitement is building at Fox, Finch & Tepper towers as we count down the days (3 to go!) until we publish the great New York parking novel “Tepper Isn’t Going Out” by Calvin Trillin. If you’re yet to get acquainted with our unlikely hero Murray Tepper, a man whose delight at parking his car and reading his paper leads to a bizarre revolution, you can find out more about him here.

In the meantime, to set the mood for Murray’s parking antics, we’ve teamed up with acclaimed photographer Martin Parr to take you on a brief, whistlestop tour of some of the world’s most enigmatic parking spaces. In our excursions as budding parking virtuousos we’ve discovered that parking spaces come in all shapes and sizes, these pictures portray just a few of the many great parking options that a wannabe carparker might encounter.

Our tour begins on UK soil,  in Newcastle where we see this beauty of a spot:

GB. England. Newcastle. From 'Parking Spaces'. 2002.

GB. England. Newcastle. From ‘Parking Spaces’. 2002. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Perhaps the geordie drivers need a little pointer to guide them into a space! Let’s be honest, on a bleary eyed morning who wouldn’t welcome a nice bold white arrow beckoning them into a roomy parking bay? I’ve certainly got a lot of respect for the genius who painted this space. Interestingly though, no one has opted to park in it. Perhaps nervous parkers suspect that other drivers might blankly follow the arrow and mount a neatly parked car already occupying the space, or maybe this seemingly static arrow is much more high-tech than it appears; imagine if it were to appear magically by an adjacent space whenever it became available.  Oh the possibilities!

Amsterdam’s parking is a little less obvious, neatly stationed between a canal, a tree, a lamp post and another parked vehicle we find this clearly lined bay:

HOLLAND. Amsterdam. From 'Parking Spaces'. 2002.

HOLLAND. Amsterdam. From ‘Parking Spaces’. 2002. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

This waterside spot has a lovely view! But beware, parkers who opt for this space are just a misplaced wheel or foot  away from a dip in the Dutch canal with a boat of tourists laughing at their expense. And it has to be said it’s a rather narrow little space for one in which you could so easily (literally) end up in deep water!

TURKEY. Istanbul. From 'Parking Spaces'. 2002.

TURKEY. Istanbul. From ‘Parking Spaces’. 2002. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

There’s something delightfully romantic about this parking spot on the snowy streets of Istanbul. We can see the shadow of the car that has just departed, wheels and all and the  exposed slippery tarmac just waiting for that next warm bonnet to shelter it once more. Judging by the snow on the street and on the adjacent cars it doesn’t look like anyone has driven by this spot in some time, here’s hoping someone will find it soon.

And now for something completely different! It’s not just cars that have to park you know. In Cairo there’s some hot competition for hand cart parking spots…

EGYPT. Cairo. 2002.

EGYPT. Cairo. 2002. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Sadly the box-lined hand cart at the centre of this photograph has parked rather greedily and is taking up an entire double space, leaving the industrious woman behind trawling the streets in search for another suitable spot for her vehicle. These things must be tricky to park though, I doubt they have power steering or any parking sensors. All things considered I think us UK parkers have it easy compared to some of these folk!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our mini tour of some of the world’s great parking spaces. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Martin Parr for contributing these wonderful images, all of which were selected from his limited edition 2007 book “Parking Spaces”.  Martin is one of the most distinctive photographers of our age, his pictures are beautiful, contemporary, strange, confrontational and introduce us to places and cultures from around the globe and we are so lucky to be able to share some of our favourite Parr parking pictures with you in this blog entry. If you would like to learn more about Martin and his photography you can visit his website by clicking here.

And if you’ve got any great pictures of parking spaces from home or overseas we’d love to see them. Leave us a comment or tweet us @foxfinchtepper.

In the mean-time look out for our parking-mad Murray Tepper in “Tepper Isn’t Going Out” published this Thursday. You can pop down to Mr B’s to pick up a copy, grab one from your local book shop or order from us online. And if you want to find out more about the curious Murray Tepper, the book’s brilliant author Calvin Trillin, or the cultural history of parking in general join us for a special event to celebrate publication on Wednesday 18th November. Details here.

Keep parking everyone!

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