Image: Trent Parke, Shoppers at the Rocks Saturday markets in the late afternoon sunlight.

Trent Parke is an Austrailian photographer, which the OCA course suggests is reviewed in relation to the Shadows section of the course. I.e. The use of strong light. His work is showcased at the following:

Trent Parke

My initial thoughts on his approach are that he isn’t afraid to break some of the rules that I’ve  often had drilled into me, e.g. No background/foreground distractions, subjects in focus, blown highlights without detail etc., but he does this to get the story across. There seem to be two main groups of images, with some incorporating both aspects; 

  • The first group of images are those with strong shapes, often symbolic in nature, created from strong light, either exposed for bright light giving a white or black shape as the subject(s). Sometimes there are clear contexts for this symbolism that create the story, e.g. The cross shaped shadow of a priest clearly set in the context of a church or reglious gathering.
  • The second group show a juxtaposition between different people or groups of people. Both lit by strong light and in many cases the focus of the two parts creating the difference between the two parts of the image. I find some of the images confusing not understanding the story or purpose of the image, the featured image for this blog post is an example of this, there are interesting shapes from the high contest, but I’m struggling for a story.

My learning from this is to worry less about the rules! Work out the story or juxtaposition, expose for the high contrast (manual mode exposed for the lightest part of the image) and take the image. Timing is an aspect of his images, so studying an environment in order to anticipate the opportunities will be an important part of preparation, I doubt many of his images were purely opportunist. I suspect some were specifically setup.

My personal taste is for his black and white images, which are much clearer in conveying subject and story.

Now for some practice.