Trent Parke is an Australian photographer and member of Magnum.
Episode 127: This episode was an absolute killer. I had spent some time re-familiarizing myself with the copious efforts of Magnum photographer Trent Parke off the back of his recently published and brilliant Crimson Line (Stanley/Barker 2020). It did not disappoint.
The conversation was full of great anecdotal information about Trent and his process which was not limited to Crimson Line, but encompassed much about his general practice. We discussed his gifted wife Narelle Autio who also has a beautiful book out this year with the same publisher. We spoke about their working relationships and the trials and tribulations of working alongside one another as artists. That was quite insightful.
Most of the episode featured Trent’s various bodies of work and his methodology for making images. Crimson Line is something of a standout in Trent’s vast and important career. It marks a somewhat dramatic shift towards pictorial efforts and though his street photography credentials brought him here, the new work cannot be easily described as that, nor photojournalism. Instead, I refer to it as the Industrial Sublime.
The industrial sublime in my thinking has to do with many things from the grand images of factory smoke to the sun bouncing off global shipping containers. The term is meant to consider the world we inhabit at the moment as it turns from a manual labor force into something more electronic. As fossil fuels and their effects on our ecology manifest unfavorable results, we begin to examine more and more this terror that inhabits our industrialized vista, but also how its very process creates a beauty anti-ethical to our survival. This is all apparent in Crimson Line.
In chatting with Trent, my takeaway from the conversation was that Trent is brilliantly obsessive photographer. He has an affinity to the land in which he was birthed and his work carries his enthusiasm for the medium of photography. The conversation was quite funny in places and I am left amusing the sheer pleasure of our combined obsession with photography and its discourse. Please Tune In and pick up that book if you can still grab a copy.