Trent Parke 2

4th October 2019

We were asked to look at the work of Trent Parke this time, specifically his portraits and how he uses the light when shooting. For this research I used the book that I had purchased and one that I have written a review about – Trent Parke (2013). Minutes To Midnight. Germany: Steidl 

Looking through the book again, reintroduced me to many of Parke’s work on portraits which document time and place and also events. This gave me some extra ideas on themes to look at for the exercise 2.2 People and activity.

However for this research I am looking at Trente’s light effects. I particularly liked the images below that are within the book and I have tried to find varying lighting techniques to study.

Image one

As we can see from the above images, Parke’s portraits when we look at them from the lighting perspective, are very harsh and rely on contrast to give a very dramatic black and white image.

Image one is particularly interesting as the left side of the picture plane is far darker than the right, in fact because of the lighting conditions where the light is shining directly behind the walking figures, the image gets lighter as our eyes more from left to right over the photograph. There are very few details in the people as the light captures only specific points of their body and heads, particularly their shoulders and hats.

Image two is very similar to that of image one. However within this photograph there is more lighting and the gentlemans form can be seen more clearly. The focus here is the outline on the front of the gentleman where the light is highlighting the contours of his body.

The third image shows very clearly the portrait of the young lady and her baby. Here the light is falling directly onto the bodies and has a studio lighting feel about it.

The last image, image four has completely bleached the figure out. There are no details within the figure, we are left with an amazing white solid body and its contrasting black shadow.

I am now a big fan of Trent Parke’s work. I love how he manipulates light and gives us these very dramatic and often very harsh images.

If I was to photograph a series of work as Parke does it would need plenty of planning and a clear idea on the images that I would hope to capture.

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