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“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.” Trent Parke

I decided to google photographers that are famous for capturing light and shadows and stumbled across Trent Parke’s work.

He was born in Newcastle, Australia in 1971 and now lives in Adelaide. He has won many photography awards and his work has been widely exhibited, including solo exhibitions in New York, London and Germany. “Minutes To Midnight” was shown at The Australian Centre for Photography in January/February 2005, in conjunction with the Sydney Festival, and became the most highly-attended show in the recorded history of the ACP.

According to the many profiles written about Trent Parke he is the only Australian photographer who has been able to join the Magnum group. This group pride themselves on being photographers who have “powerful individual vision”.

In his street work Trent has said that he uses harsh shadows to eliminate visual clutter such as modern advertising, which gives the images he creates a timeless feeling. The effect of this is to simplify the overall image and it also creates some unusual compositions that you simply don’t see day-to-day. They seem to have quite a dark mood as the harsh light in Australia creates such sharp contrasts, the blacks deep, so the pockets of sunlight add both tension and drama.

Trent has stated that by getting rid of the “crap” it can help you to make sense of the scene. Looking at Trent’s work has really made me question how I feel about the use of light in my work, the image below is the sort of exposure that many people would advise against, but Trent has used this narrow beam of light to create a very powerful shot. He obviously exposed for the shadows and with perfect timing captured the person wearing white (or a very light colour) walking through the beam of light, which blew the highlights, giving this person a quite angelic and surreal feeling.

Trent has commented on how quite often he’ll look back on a piece of work and wonder how on Earth it came about. The camera can capture images which just aren’t visible to the human eye.

I found that I was quite mesmerised by some of his black and white street photography work and really admire the work that he does with light and shadow and I find many of his images to be awe-inspiring and it makes me want to try street photography again.

After looking into his work I found the quote at the start of my post by Trent Parke aptly describes some of his work which does seem to verge on the surreal often giving it that magical feeling that he describes.

While researching Trent I stumbled across this video on him and his partner Narelle Autio which is worth watching it is so inspiring.


All the above images and quotes were taken from the following websites:

 –   Magnum Photographers (accessed 18 February 2015)

 –   In Public (accessed 18 February 2015)

    Stills website (accessed 18 February 2015)

–    Wikipedia (accessed 18 February 2015)