David Parker was born in 1949 in Stafford, England. He originally trained as an engineer, and then as a commercial illustrator. An early interest in photography developed from a hobby into a fulltime occupation. Through his work Parker investigates contemporary landscape through the medium of large-scale black and white photography. Conceptually, the work demonstrates contemporary art's vital ability to affirm our physical and metaphysical interactions with the world around us. His training as both an engineer and a commercial illustrator allows Parker to use custom built panoramic cameras and processing equipment.
‘The way forward is the way back’ wrote Eliot, and for me at least this meant finding a form to utilise the visual vocabulary of photography’s forefathers, one that was steeped in beauty. Revisiting the 19th century landscape with its aesthetic of narrow but rich tonalities, offered me a potential way to excite feelings of wonder and awe, curious emotions which at once fill us with enchantment and a sense of our mortality. Feeding into my enthusiasm for the work of these pioneers was an interest in myth, legend and classical literature, the human rather than the political face of culture, and from this mix I fancied that I began to see striking features of the landscape in ways that our ancestors might also have seen them, first as beacons and landmarks, then perhaps in anthropomorphic terms and even as ritual totems, all hinting at a relationship to the landscape that was both utilitarian and, dangerous word, spiritual.
Natural arches, for example, become bridges between worlds, thresholds of transition. Solitary sea-stacks become sirens awaiting the unwary seafarer. Caves become entrances into the labyrinth or the abodes of oracles. The Earth’s geology was and is therefore a mythogenic zone which the human psyche is able to embrace in ways that are metaphoric and symbolic. Philosophically, these are of course large subjects and well beyond the scope of a single artform such as photography to convey, my personal aesthetic remit is to still the mind of the spectator into simple fascination of the world.
Myth and Landscape, by David Parker via Camera Obscura
All photos © David Parker
links: Michael Hopen Gallery ׀ acte2galerie ׀ Kehrer