Magnum photographer showcases Island life at its idiosyncratic best

– Posted on Friday 28th June 2024

A must-see exhibition of photographs captured during Manx National Week opens at the Manx Museum this Saturday (June 29). Supported by a grant from the Isle of Man Arts Council, ‘Tynwald Week – photos by Martin Parr’ celebrates the idiosyncrasies of Tynwald Day in a way like no other. With an unmistakable eye for the quirks of ordinary life, Martin Parr was commissioned by the Isle of Man Post Office to showcase the spirit of Manx National Week last year, whilst identifying distinctive Manx traits.

The photographs, to be exhibited in public for the first time, perfectly capture the unique combination of formality, community and fun that typifies July 5 and the events surrounding it. Bringing the national week experience to life through distinctively fresh eyes, the personable and vibrant images range from Viking re-enactment and ceremonial and military formality to Manx food and children at play. Hosted by Manx National Heritage, the exhibition coincides with the issue of a collection of eight stamps, of the same name, featuring his work.

Katie King, Curator: Art & Social History for Manx National Heritage, said: “From food and flags to tartan and triskels, this exhibition reveals so much about our national identity and it’s been a real pleasure working with such a renowned contemporary photographer as Martin.

“To find out he was also a close friend of the late Manx photographer Chris Killip, whose work he continues to champion along with that of Tony Ray-Jones – who photographed on the Island in the 1960s – is another fitting link to an exhibition which celebrates Manx identity and pride and captures every facet of such a cherished annual event. This has been an excellent collaboration with the Isle of Man Post Office and Isle of Man Arts Council and I am sure Island residents and visitors to the exhibition will be thrilled with the outcome.”

Martin Parr added: “It was exciting to visit and take photos at the Tynwald ceremony. From the Beating the Retreat the evening before through to the last dance in the marquee, it was all go and many photo opportunities came my way. I love the idea of these being on stamps, and knowing many people will see these. That’s the democratic nature of photography, which I fully support.”

Maxine Cannon, Stamps and Coins General Manager, said: “Martin Parr continues to shape our perception of the world with his insightful lens and we feel incredibly lucky that his fresh perspective on Tynwald Week has been captured in this way.”

The exhibition runs at the Manx Museum until October 6, after which Martin has kindly agreed to donate two of the prints to the Isle of Man Arts Council loan collection. Manx National Heritage will also host Photobiography, on Tuesday 9 July, when Martin will explore his life and career in photography. The talk takes place at 6:30pm at the iMuseum on Kingswood Grove in Douglas. Tickets are available online and includes an opportunity to visit the exhibition at the Manx Museum from 4:30pm-6:30pm, with an opportunity to purchase Parr’s Tynwald Week prints, limited edition signed exhibition posters, and Isle of Man Post Office’s Tynwald Week stamp issue and merchandise.

To book your ticket, visit:

To view the stamps, visit:



Manx National Heritage and Isle of Man Post Office are grateful to the following for their kind assistance: Rod Bower, Leroy Bonnick, Kurt Dimelow, Mark ‘Tex’ Houston, Aaron O’Reilly, John Shakespeare, Michael Speers and the team at the Martin Parr Foundation.

The Isle of Man Arts Council for funding the exhibition print costs.

Manx photographer Adrian Cowin who expertly assisted Martin amongst the crowds and clamour of Tynwald to help capture these insightful images, and the Isle of Man Government staff behind the scenes who enabled this very positive collaboration.


Tynwald Day, 2023. Photo © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

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