Photographer Martin Parr’s world-renowned photobook collection has been acquired by the Tate.
Built up over 25 years, the collection of more than 12,000 books is widely acknowledged as being one of the greatest in the world.
It has been part gifted by the British documentary photographer and acquired by Tate with the support of the Luma Foundation, with further contributions from others including Art Fund.
Photobooks are considered to be one of the most important ways that photographers present and disseminate their work and are seen as historical documents as well as works of art in their own right.
Parr’s collection includes everything from canonical series and printed portfolios by photographers like Hans Bellmer, Nobuyoshi Araki and Robert Frank, to self-published amateur work and mass-produced commercial books.
He said: “I have always wanted my photobook collection to go to a public institution in the UK and with the recent commitment to photography from Tate, this was a very easy decision to make.”
A changing selection of the books will be incorporated into displays and exhibitions at Tate’s galleries, while the collection as a whole will be made available to the public through the reading room at Tate Britain.
Tate Modern director Frances Morris said the collection “is undoubtedly one of the greatest of its kind anywhere in the world”.
She said: “We are delighted to help bring it into public ownership and to make it accessible to national and international audiences.
“Thanks to the generosity of Martin and all those who supported this acquisition, we will be able to preserve this invaluable resource for generations to come and use it to tell new stories about photography, art history and photography’s role in recording the culture and politics of its time.”