Discuss a Trent Parke photograph

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Tony Egan, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Trent Parke is a contemporary photographer and the only Australian to have been admitted to the Magnum agency. I read in the paper this morning that he has just won another award so I thought I would post an image for discussion. I have heard him talk about wanting to create a distinctly Australian body of work and he spends a lot of time travelling around the country documenting people and events with his partner Narelle Autio, another very fine photographer. He has recently started to work in colour and brings his high contrast (+high saturation) printing style to that medium. I would describe his print aesthetic as somewhat "anti-fine art" which makes it distinctive and a signature style if you like. More images here if you would like to have a look:
    http://www.stillsgallery.com.au/artists/parke/index.php?obj_id=series_04&nav=4
     

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  2. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Restricted Access

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    g'day Tony, Parke and Autio have a great body of work already

    this from a series, each image of which can stand on it's own

    this image reminds me of summer, the beach, childhood, though it's dark and gloomy i see it as light, airy and full of life

    i saw their round Australia work at ACP last year, simply brilliant, especially the wide angle view on the beach in WA at sunset with the people and the pavillion
     
  3. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    It's interesting work.

    It has an ominous feel to it.


    Michael
     
  4. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Sorry, but I have to ask this.

    Is this PS'd?
     
  5. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Restricted Access

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    probably not, knowing the other work of this artist, but why do you 'have to' ask
     
  6. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    This image makes me think of kids having a great time in the pool. It is a little dark but so is underwater. I looked at all his work on the site you gave and really liked it, very different. I don't think it is ps'd since he offers Silver gelatin prints.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Two reasons bring the query to mind:

    1) The photog seems to be shooting underwater, yet there is no "surface" or the "surface" consists of dark clouds w/o any breakline for the water surface.

    2) The sillhouetted child in particular seems to have been "cut and pasted" in. And some of the other figures too.

    Remember, all I am seeing is a digital representation on the internet of a scan (perhaps several iterations later) of the original print.

    I "had" to ask because there seems to be real controversy here about being what I call a "hybrid" photog versus a "traditional" one.

    I scan my photogs, and have used PS to crop, and at times adjust highlights and contrast. So I'm a "hybrid". But I've never used PS to "manipulate" images (although I did take a class to learn how it's done).

    So, I had to ask, since there does seem to be the possibility of PS manipulation in this image.
     
  8. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Restricted Access

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    good points George,

    as for 1) - the clouds are not clouds but are in fact swirls of white water as this image was taken in the surf as the swimmers dove under the wave

    as for digital/traditional - there is indeed much controversy here in regards to the satanic practice of digital manipulation and imaging. Though I'm not wanting to re-ignite the debate, I think all image makers must find their own level of what is acceptable to themselves and thier audience. Obviously, the audience/members on this site don't want digital. But that doesn't mean digital has no place in high quality/fine art/expressive/creative photography.
     
  9. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    George,
    I have seen Trent's prints in galleries on many occasions and that is his printing style. I mentioned this in my original post and made reference to his "style" which is usually a "Grade 4+" aesthetic. Last time I heard him speak both he and Narelle were still shooting film and using Leica rangefinders. Does this help make it more authentic!! :smile:
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    this photograph is like a dream.
    floating bodies in water.
    darkness and light.
    clouds that are there but there are none.

    while i know these are taken below-surface
    they have a surreal quality that is beautiful.

    thanks for posting the link to his other work!

    -john
     
  11. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Ray/Tony,

    Thanks for taking the time to consider my query and answer thoughtfully.

    Ray, with your explanation, now it does make a lot more sense (see what I mean about iterations of images!). I now see the "clouds" can indeed be surf. Bit of "my bad" for assuming it was a "pool" shot rather than an "ocean" one. Still trying to understand the "shadowed kid" but I'm no expert at printing - that's for sure.

    Tony, thanks for adding the info on the gear.

    This all said, I agree with the "onimous" observations - is there "Great White" in the background that we don't see? :wink:
     
  12. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    George,
    The reason for posting this particular image was the mystery and its understandable it might challenge a sceptical viewer.

    Reason for the shadows is the light source is above and behind the front swimmer and Trent would be positioned beyond the breaker in the "heavy" part of the wave so very little light would be reflecting back. I suspect apart from the usual hard contrast he may also have done some burning to get rid of any trace of detail.

    I must say as someone who has spent most of their time searching for the long "fine art" tonal range in a black and white print, looking at his work can be jarring to the senses - and I think that may just be the point!

    Ray, yes the ACP show was great and I attended a talk they gave during that exhibition at the Paddington RSL. Did you go? Narelle told a great story about leaving the Leica hanging over the bullbar of the 4WD and discovering it unharmed when that stopped driving a few hours later - (but we don't need to give the Leica lovers any more reasons to gloat!)

    Cheers, Tony
     
  13. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Thanks for posting the link Tony!

    I agree that Trent's images are very contrasy but that's what makes them so unique.
    I really enjoyed seeing his work. I don't think I've ever come across the same kind of images which is so refreshing. I look at alot of B&W photographs because I love the medium and it's great to see work that is so different.
     
  14. catem

    catem Member

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    Well, I like contrasty work anyway, so I really like this.

    I'm not familiar with his work already, (and good to see an Aussie) so thanks very much for posting.

    Cate
     
  15. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Hi Tony,

    Stunning picture ! Tremendous sense of movement, I could just sit watching it for ages. It is rare to see something as distinctive and fresh in style.....

    Regards, John.
     
  16. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    I was at the same event Tony and I thoroughly enjoyed their informal chat with us all.

    The first time I came across Trent's work was his book "Dream Life" shot all around Sydney streets. Superb work I thought.

    There's also a book full of Narelle's shots of people underwater, much like the one above. Might have been called the "Seventh Wave" from memory. Also very interesting work.

    And for Copake_ham, there was a delightful image shown at the event Tony & I attended where Trente was hanging multiple films up in a tree by the beach with clothes pegs. He said that night that he *must* see his shots as he works to know if it's working for him, so he took a dev tank all round Australia wih him and would dev his rolls in any location he could, sometime to the amusement of locals. "What sort of drink are you mixing mate?" was one comment he got. I guess he has the stainless steel tank that looks like a cocktail shaker?