3 minute read
I Am Trent Parke. Sort of.
August 20, 2015
First a little back story. In the summer of 2015 my day job sent me traipsing around China for 3 out of 6 weeks and, long story short, when I wrote this I was stuck in Beijing for 3 days because of a scheduling problem. Down times like that are when I literally day dream about quitting my job and doing nothing but artistic things, but since that probably won’t happen any time soon (economics!) I normally spend time reading and looking at other photographers’ work instead.
I’ve only returned recently to creative practices, and I’m never really sure where my creativity is going, so I normally read about what motivates photographers who do the things I admire — that means reading blogs, looking at photos and studying what makes them good, and contemplating what I do in my work that is similar (or different). I often read Eric Kim’s blog because of the great content and because it serves as a starting point for finding great images and the stories behind them. Side note, lately I’ve discovered I love “street” photography because of the accessibility and the challenge; you can just go outside and shoot shit, as long as you can make it interesting. But it isn’t easy.
So that’s what I was doing on the evening of August 15, 2015, reading a random blog post about Trent Parke and waiting to go home.
Without knowing the guy it seems apparent from what little I’ve read about him that Trent thinks about his work the way I think of mine: obsessive, perfectionist, emotional. I won’t bother repeating what was written on Eric’s blog post, instead I’ll encourage you to go read it. Just beware, it’s long. The photography is great and Eric’s train of thought is well organized, so it’s a great read.
I don't feel I'm clever enough to be able to set images up. I'd rather see them happening around me, grab them and let chance play a part in it … and when the photograph works it has a kind of epic quality.
I admire Parke’s work; it’s the kind I want to create, except with my own bent. (you can see more of his work on the magnum website.) his thoughts about his work mirror my own about mine, mainly that he shoots for himself. This is why I can’t stand posing or studio or any of that kind of thing, because to me there is no authenticity or emotion in it. I leave the formality to others because I have that freedom. Eric says it well in his blog, “at the end of the day, nobody is going to care how well-composed your images are if they don’t elicit some sort of human emotion. Emotions stick, fancy compositions and geometry don’t.” a great way to express why I shoot for myself.
So what’s the take-away here? Despite wanting one day to follow my heart, I’m not a professional photographer. I’m not brave enough to quit my engineering job. Just like the rest of my life, my artistic work is evolving, but I can tell you what it won’t be: common-place. When I wrote this post this site was young, so the volume was low. But what is here illustrates the direction of where I want to go.