Exhibition: 16 November to 17 December, 2005
Trent Parke has created many powerful images of the world around him. They offer the viewer a startling and unique vision of Australians at work and play, a portrayal suffused with Parke's dark sensibility. His work has received wide acclaim both in Australia and overseas, most notably with his invitation to become an associate member of the prestigious Magnum Photo Agency, becoming the first Australian to have achieved this. Magnum will be featuring his work at Paris Photo in November this year. He has received numerous international awards including the W Eugene Smith Bursary for Humanistic Photography in 2003 and World Press Awards in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005. His recent solo exhibition was Minutes to Midnight at the Australian Centre for Photography as part of Sydney Festival 2005.
This exhibition of new work at Stills Gallery will mark a move into colour. This is an exciting opportunity to see how Parke, best known for his black and white images, responds to the world in colour. This transition was prompted by a perusal of his parents' family album. Parke was struck by the way colours and tones located an image in time and place. His desire for the new series was to locate it within Sydney at this moment in time. Shot on medium format film, the images maintain their fine detail even when printed large scale.
The works are epic representations of people in the business centre of the city. The visual noise of skyscrapers, crowds, advertising slogans and patches of sky or grass coalesce in the frame to form a visual haiku on city life. The images are not documents of Sydney as much as impressions of what it feels like to be here and now. They bear a resemblance to the work of painters like Edward Hopper or Jeffrey Smart yet are very much a purely photographic vision. People are starkly lit, standing apart from the urban environment, their individual presences dramatised against an architectural backdrop.