Spanning a decade of practice, this exhibition at Delmar Gallery brings together representative works from six major photographic series by Trent Parke. Beginning with iconic images from the now-classic portrait of Sydney, “Dream/Life”, it charts the considerable ground – both literal and metaphorical – which Parke has covered since then. From his epic documentation of national malaise in “Minutes to Midnight” through to the frank and humorous account of the strangeness of family life in “The Christmas Tree Bucket”, the exhibition follows Parke’s journey around Australia and into the country’s psyche.
It also charts his move from black and white to colour photography, and his extraordinary capacity to capture images of profound emotional charge. Parke works only with film, and relies on chance, patience and the fleeting effects of light to create his unique compositions. Exhibited for the first time will be artist’s books from the “Coming Soon” series which demonstrate that notable persistence, keen observation and play of chance.
Unfailingly in his work there is an engrained honesty and integrity, together with drama, vitality, pathos and humanity. Recognising these qualities, in 2003 an international jury awarded Parke the internationally coveted W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography. In 2007 and following a lengthy and grueling selection process, he was accepted as a full member of the renowned Magnum Photo Agency – the only Australian photographer in the agency’s 60 year history. His most recent publication, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, sold out in three days and the high-end photography book publisher Steidl will be releasing books of two of his series in coming months. Whilst Parke is most definitely an Australian photographer – he has said he no desire to photograph overseas – appreciation of the importance of his work is truly international.
Official Opening Event on Saturday 7 May, 3pm