Photography is about conveying a vision. It's a point of view with meaning that will be translated differently by each observer. So what makes a good photographer? We all take pictures, now more than ever with cameras in our phones and tablets and share them on social media, not only for friends and family but for the world to see. In a time when many of us might see ourselves as amateur photographers, it's the artist that takes it to another level, whether professionally or passionately, that breaks down everyday life into art. Our Guest Blogger today is one of these artists that has taken photography to the next level and is making a career out of it. We're excited to have photographer Homer Parkes contribute his thoughts on his still photography and the moving image in film.
Homer Parkes was born and raised in New York City and has been taking photographs since the age of 14. His interest and curiosity lies in the story behind the everyday. The truth isn't really relevant but the imagined story of someone or something is key to his photography, letting subtle mystery intrigue the viewer in the same way it originally caught his eye. Most often the image doesn't lead the viewer in any way towards the story he may have imagined, but always attempts to direct their attention to something they would likely overlook.Q: Favorite Miramax film?
A: Currently, really into Iwan Baan's work. Bernd and Hilla Becher also high on my list.Q: Favorite Cinematographer?
A: I look around, at everything, all the time, according to my mother I've done so since I was a baby.Q: Most challenging part of your career?
A: Right now - getting started.Q: What type of work/photography do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
A: Unclear so far, but my interests lie in geometric and often minimal man-made forms and their natural environments.
photo by Homer Parkes
My photography is always related to a story. That story, unlike in film, exists only in my mind and is rarely told, but is the key to finding the image I want to capture. A subway station filled with people, a boat captain, a delivery man having a cigarette, all have a story and whether or not I know the truth, the stories I imagine are almost a short film based purely on a moment, an interaction, something that catches my eye in an instant.
photo by Homer Parkes
I am infinitely curious about the lives of strangers and hope to convey that curiosity through my photography. Although in film that story is being told through narrative, the cinematography can begin to tell that story far before the first word is spoken. I also focus on architecture and manmade structures in their natural environments and the way they work with their surroundings. I am interested in the aging process, passing time and the impact of nature on something that was designed to withstand such forces. In capturing these images I often work with geometric forms and negative space, framing buildings against the sky, for example, allows for strong visual statements while guiding the mind along the paths I began on.
The work of [cinematographer] Roger Deakins is a wonderful example of visual storytelling and setting a mood that gives the mind a head start on the story. In most of Deakins' films there are beautiful, long, nearly still shots, a slowly evolving scene using subtle lighting to let your mind move with the action of the story. You truly live the scenes as they happen when it's captured with such a natural and relaxed feeling.
Even in the most gripping scenes from No Country for Old Men you feel as though you are personally involved and that comes, not only from the Coen Brothers amazing storytelling, but also from the intimate way Deakins captures the scene and the way he allows you to build the story in your head as it is told. I attempt to capture the same relaxed and natural emotions in my photography, rarely staging or even waiting for an image to appear and capturing the everyday on the fly, as it occurs.
View more of Homer Parkes work on his website and take another look at Roger Deakins cinematography in this clip from No Country for Old Men.