Untitled, from the series Please step quietly everyone can hear you
Trent Parke’s photography recodes and reinvents the documentary image. His work spins narratives of Australian life that can be laconic and vernacular as well as lyrical and elegiac. Astutely observing the world around him, Parke plucks details from the flux of everyday life and transforms them into poetic vignettes. Having inherited an eye for episodic scenes and the beauty of unplanned gestures from the masters of documentary photography, chief among them Henri Cartier-Bresson with his exaltation of the medium’s ‘decisive moment’, Parke pushes the genre into new aesthetic territory. His photographs can be charged with dry wit as much as they are sweepingly romantic.
The narratives Parke teases out within each image are only augmented by the way he works within a series, crafting cunning (and often allegorical) associations between related works. In the series Please step quietly everyone will hear you Parke turns his attention to the neglected and overlooked space of the theatre’s back of house. Invited into the bowels of the Sydney Opera House, Parke unearths and exposes the spaces kept out of sight and off stage. Discarded props, decrepit corridors, standing cues – the subjects of these photographs are the invisible, yet foundational, elements and structures that exist beneath the artifice of the theatrical world. They are the fragments of the real that operate alongside (and enable) the fiction of the stage.
45.0 x 55.0 cm
Purchase with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2017
Not on display
© Trent Parke
Shown in 1 exhibition
Hold still: the photographic performance, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 May 2018–29 Jul 2018