Exploring Trent Parke’s Photographs

This blog post is going to look at some of my visual research, for my current assignment. We are going to look at some of the images I found interesting and what I though about these images.

Introduction to Trent Parke…

The three images we are looking at today are taken by Trent Parke. Trent Park (born 1971-) is a photographer from Australia. Trent is the only photographer that magnum photo’s represent from down south. He predominantly shoots street photography. These photos are put into books depicting his journeys. Trent has had three books published; Minutes to Midnight, The Seventh Wave and Dream/Life.

The photos…

 The first image I have chosen, was taken by Trent Parke, and is taken from his book “Dream/Life”. Trent Parke works as a street photographer, who has produced books on these journeys, where he tries to capture the essence of the image. Dream/Life was a book he created when he started a journey in 2003. He drove at least 56,000 miles round Australia, taking photographs  depicting the many different areas of the outback but bringing across a story within each image.


Starting with the composition of the image, we can see Trent Parke has taken the image looking up to the subjects. Even though we have no dominant human subject in the frame, to the right  we see a human in the foreground, but most of the body has been cropped out.  This gives the image a better depth perception to the viewer, as you are drawn to what is in the background rather than what is in the foreground. However if you were to scan the picture from left to right instead of right to left, you would notice the man after you have seen the background. This would still give the viewer an impression that the picture has a lot of depth to it. However, it still creates the same mystery as you don’t have all the details of what type of person is in the foreground.


The subject of the image is humans, which are spread out but all positioned towards the camera, which suggests the photographer has taken this image in front of something that is captivating these people. The body language of the people and their positioning suggests that they could be tourists.  I find the fact that the camera is lower to the ground creates an image of dominant people or tourists, which suggests that they may not be treating the area with respect, and causing damage. This explains why the image depicts this dominance of the people in the photo.

 Magnum Photos is where I borrowed the image

From a first glance you can see the composition of this picture is very complicated, there are many different types of people in the frame. Unlike the first image, we can see more detail on the people in the picture. We also can see different shades of grey on the people, allowing us to capture an idea of what they are wearing. This is very different from the first image, as the people are just silhouettes, they are just black on white.


Another aspect of the composition to consider, is the human/peoples positions are varied. It portrays a sense of urgency in the picture. Trent has managed to capture in essence “the calm before the storm”. We can see this through the different actions of the people within the frame reacting to what is about to happen.


The centre of the image looks like the floor has been retouched to highlight the area. This could suggest that the centre is where the storm has started as the people, around the outside,  have yet to be affected.

Magnum Photos

This image in particular appeals to me because of the composition and the position where the image was captured. I find it particularly clever how the person to the left of the image is in the foreground, while also being unfocussed as it immediately draws your attention to the focussed area of the image; the middle ground.


It is essentially a space, a street crossing, but no one is crossing due to the rain. Looking further on you can see other people that look like they are waiting for the rain to clear. This gives the impression that the theme of the image is about shelter, if you were to believe the person in the foreground is a child, but we have no certainty that this is a child or an adult.


The image does, however, make us want to question why the person, child or adult, is out in the rain, as we have no confirmation that this was shot in the day or the night. This allows Trent Parke to convey a dark mysterious story which makes the viewer feel that image needs more than just one look to gain the full experience, as you could say the image is more than skin deep with many layers enticing the viewer to truly grasp the message being conveyed by Trent Parke. For me this a very interesting picture, that not only is well composed, but has a very interesting subject that goes beyond the metaphorical sense of depicting a story within a scene.

Magnum Photos


All of these images were from Dream/Life a book made by Trent Parke. I find his work very interesting and mysterious. You can’t take one look at the image he creates, it forces the viewer to have another look and try to get a sense of what the image is portraying.


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