“Trent Parke has one of the most vivid visual signatures in Australian photojournalism. His photographs do not observe life so much as contain its contradictions within dense, idiosyncratic tableaux.”
Robert McFarlane, Sydney Morning Herald
Trent Parke is considered one of the most innovative photographers of his generation. His exhibition Dream/Life and Beyond is an ongoing document of the streets of Sydney which began when, at the age of 20, he moved from his hometown of Newcastle to live in the capital of New South Wales. In trying to deal with his sense of loneliness at the time, he took to the streets with his Leica camera and began to create a picture of Sydney unlike any other we are accustomed to seeing. As he says of his practice: “I’m always trying to channel personal emotions into my work. That is very different from a lot of documentary photographers who want to depict the city more objectively.”
Dream/Life and Beyond presents a vision of Sydney seemingly peopled with spirits and shrouded in the mythical. What is so striking about the photographs is the way Parke has played with the harsh Australian sunlight, enhancing the dramatic qualities of light and shadow to create a dreamworld that elevates these works beyond the mere document.
Trent Parke is the first Australian to become a Member of Magnum Photo Agency. He won the prestigious W Eugene Smith Award for humanistic photography in 2003 and World Press Photo Awards in 1999, 2000 and 2001. His book Dream/Life was awarded second place in the 2000 American Picture of the Year awards for photography books. His work has been exhibited widely including solo and group shows in New York, Amsterdam, Germany and Melbourne. In 2006, he was included in the Hereford and Format Photography Festivals.