Trente Park: Dreamlives

I’m not even sure where to begin with this. First of all, Trent Parke is someone I’ve never met, never spoken to, and I’m not even sure I know anyone who knows him. In fact, I know very little about him, other than the fact that he is, in my humble opinion, one of THE best photographers working today. It appears as if this film has been around for while, but I’ve just come to discover it, so my bad. Every single time I see his work I feel like I connect with it. He tells great stories and is able to read and utilize light as well as any photographer I’ve seen. You might think this is a no-brainer, but I’m amazed at how much work I see being made in less than optimal lighting conditions. Yes, we all have to do it, but given the option, I’d always rather work when the light is adding something to the image rather than subtracting.

Now, in regard to this film. I’m not sure what I like better, Trent’s imagery or the fact that Australians race goats. I love the guy that says, “Don’t squeeze the goats,” as if this would be high on the list of the participants. And, they have KIDS doing the racing. In the United States there would have been 4000 police on the street, you would have had to pay to get in, and kids would have been barred, not to mention the animal rights people shutting this down before it even began. And if this isn’t enough, the kids are not only wearing helmets, they are actually wearing what looks to be satin covers on their helmets, which just about set me over the edge.

All I know is, I need to get to Australia as soon as possible.

This film is also about Narelle Autio and how the pair works together on projects. I LOVE the fact they are shooting around where they live, and how connected they seem to their native surroundings. I don’t have this same feeling about where I live, so I’m a bit jealous here. I also LOVE the fact they have a sense of humor.

Again, I NEED to go to Australia. I grew up, partly anyway, in the open spaces of America and there is something about the open spaces of Australia that are PULLING my brain off target and on to a map of this foreign land. I have no set plans, only grumbling thoughts that will undermine my otherwise good intentions in life.

Hope you enjoy.

PS: I wrote this post yesterday, and then watched a part of this film again today and it is driving me crazy. In a good way.

Trent Parke – Dreamlives (2002) – Australian Story from L8n W. on Vimeo.

38 responses to “Trente Park: Dreamlives”

  1. Paul Gero says:

    That goat race just had me roaring with laughter!!!

  2. Don Denton says:

    I agree, Parke is an amazing photographer and the film is an excellent view into his and Autio’s work. Parke does seem to keep a low profile though. No really great interviews that I’ve found out there and although the Magnum site has a good video of him working. No new work has popped up in ages not even on the Magnum site..

    • Smogranch says:

      Last time I saw something on him he was working on a color project of some sort. He keeps a REALLY low profile, especially in the age of social media where someone trips the shutter by accident and then sends it out a hundred times.

  3. Paul Gero says:

    Danno…when you win the around the world trip (hoping) you can use part of it to track Trent down ;-)…

  4. Karen says:

    Wow. This makes we want to get out and shoot… now. Don’t post things like this on a Wednesday when I need to work for two more days before I can get out for a walk with my camera!

  5. Charlene says:

    I’ve met Trent Parke. He was my tutor in when Magnum Workshops held one here. If I met him in the street and not known he’s one of the most inspired photographers out there, I’d probably think him some hippie surfie dude. He’s very… un-seasoned-famous-photographer-like, if it makes sense (not that I have met enough of them to tell, it’s just an assumption). It was a completely horizon broadening, mindboggling week i spent under his tutelege. That was a year ago, and I can still summon a strong remnant of the stupid basketcaseness the week and its lead up had. Wrote about it here:

    I also did meet and spend some time talking to Narelle Autio at the opening of the photo festival that these workshops were a part of. Casual conversation, but it’s amazing talking about your impending trip of a lifetime (4WD around the continent, which Trent and Narelle did, giving birth to their respective bodies of work of that time, as well as their first child) to someone who has done it already and just relates, for all the same reasons.

    • Charlene says:

      It needs to be said that he is an extremely generous tutor. “Ask me anything. Suck as much of my brain as you can in this time” kind of generous. Ok, I’ll stop gushing now. Still star struck after a year!

    • Smogranch says:

      good to know

      Personally, I also love the idea he isn’t out relentlessly self-promoting….like me. I have his small run book that came out about a year ago.

    • Smogranch says:

      Holy crap, you are one lucky lady. I’m normally not one to gush over another photographer, and again, I’ve never met him, but in this case, I’ll admit the man crush but not in any creepy way. I just dig his work. I heard about that trip, and the loss of the 4×4 and the birth of their child. Made me want to quit my life and start another.

    • Charlene says:

      Lucky is about right. I couldn’t bloody believe it. I did literally fall off my chair when I got the email I’d been selected and whose group I was in. Hehe, man crush.

    • Smogranch says:

      I would love to take a workshop with him.

    • Charlene says:

      Well, Magnum should be coming back for Foto Freo 2012. As he’s Australia’s only Magnum entry…. and you are wanting to come here anyway, it seems like it is meant to be 😉 I’ll keep you posted re Foto Freo. The excitement is ramping up over here, since it’s held in sleepy ol’ Perth, not the other superstar Australian cities.

    • Smogranch says:

      that’s funny because that is where I want to go….Perth.

    • Larry says:

      Hi Charlene,
      Thanks for the write up and posting a link to your more in depth account of the experience. Really nice to hear that a photog is generous and down to earth. I love his work and this video. Thanks for posting the video Dan.

    • Smogranch says:

      welcome, I just posted it….

    • Charlene says:

      Heh, i don’t know about in depth, Larry. Excited babbling, more like. It was an excellent experience though. I’d mark being in a Magnum Workshop with Trent Parke as the point where I realised I could be really serious about photography as a lot more than a hobby/creative outlet. I will probably never become a professional photographer, but it is still a marvelous way of experiencing the world in depth.

    • Smogranch says:

      You know, the title of “professional photographer” isn’t the title it once was, and I’m not sure anymore what the advantages of it are. I think the key point is simply to make good images….sometimes that is easier to do when you are NOT a “professional photographer.” Something to think about…

  6. Sean says:

    That’s the second time you’ve posted a video on Australian photojournalists and the second time it’s blown my mind.

  7. Jim OReilly says:

    I’ve seen this video a few times in the past, and I always end up thinking how optimistic and full of life Trent’s personality seems. I’ve got one of his books at home that covers some of the shots from this documentary. It is a shame that his work is so great, but books containing his work are so expensive due to their collector status, so not every one gets to enjoy his work. I think i paid like 50 bucks for my book and its no more than 20 pages of postcard shaped images. Hopefully he can do a retro in the future. I’ve been a fan of his work for quite some time. Thanks for posting.

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Jim,

      Well, I have to say, if you can get good money for your books….it’s worth going after it. I think he has bridged the ever important gap from the editorial world to the art world, and along with this comes the ability to do more with what you create, including editioned books. I too have one of his books, the one done through Little Brown Mushroom. This will be a very important part of the future, for many people like Trent, as traditional models of working as a photographer crack and fail with each passing day. This is one of the primary reasons I’m working with Blurb. Some photographers have figured this out, the idea of selling a few books for a lot of money, as opposed to trying to sell thousands of books with an accumulation of tiny margins, IF a margin exists at all. Again, I think those days, unless you are creating a best seller type book, are over.
      But, I think many of the traditional models of photography failed years ago. I think Trent has the ability to do both.

  8. mike a says:

    i enjoyed the video and their images. I was just wondering how much money that goat race would have cost in America. OSHA safety crews, lawyers, police, animal rights activists, news, road closures, loss of productivity I mean the list goes on and on. Thanks again Daniel for another great post.

  9. Doug says:

    Thanks Dano, what a great video. Really humbling, inspiring, and challenging at the same time.

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts regarding publication and the bridge between artist and editorialist (maybe a future blog article?). I find it strange that the digital age has introduced us to artists such as Trent and given them a wider voice, yet seeing more of his work (buying/collecting/visiting) is made deliberately difficult/expensive in order to retain it’s value and not have it commoditised.

  10. It’s interesting that I ran across your Storytelling video a short while ago and only today got to writing a post about it on my blog saying how much I liked it and admired your work (similar to what you wrote about Trent Parke). I wanted to link to your blog but couldn’t remember the link so I came over to get it and read this. I’m currently living in Australia and have admired Trent’s work as well. Funny coincidence.

    By the way, Australia is an amazing place and the people are great. You should definitely come visit sometime. You might end up staying here as I did.

  11. Charlene says:

    You might appreciate this:

    Quick weekender in Sydney?

  12. Iain says:

    Inspiring,amusing and beautiful film..thanks for giving it a heads up. Trent’s work is lovely..


  13. One nice thing about not travelling is now having fast internet so I can watch all of these videos! This is an amazingly inspiring video, thanks for posting this. Attempting to dabble in story based documentary shooting myself, it is incredible to see Trent at work and the amazing images that results from his personal touch and vision.

    Let’s hope we can make it happen and all meet Trent next year at FotoFreo.

    • Smogranch says:

      I would love that. Heck, I might not want to leave. I cry when I dont’ have good internet. China was a bit difficult as well.

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