For me, it’s all about emotional connection. I love this country, love the people, everything about it… I’m not really interested in any other country…”. Such is Trent Parke’s proclamation of love for his native Australia. He was born in Newcastle, a town in New South Wales, not its English counterpart. He got into photography at the age of 12, using his mother’s Pentax Spotmatic and turned the family laundry room into a makeshift darkroom. It’s a passion that has stayed with him ever since. He started out as a photojournalist, working for the press. He has since drawn on his Australian roots to produce documentaries, along with more intimate works on the borderline between fiction and reality, exploring themes of identity, territory and family life.

In 2007, he became the first photographer from the country to be admitted to the prestigious Magnum agency. Parke’s reputation stems from his ability to capture an authentic, unfiltered portrait of his homeland, which he documents from the rural outback to the largest coastal cities. For his book Minutes to Midnight, he travelled 90,000 kilometres across Australia with his partner Narelle Autio (also exhibiting at this year’s festival in La Gacilly). The result is a work that shows a nation in flux, uneasy with its identity and its place in the world, but also a work of fiction that depicts the construction and resurgence of an apocalyptic world.

In another of his series, Welcome to Nowhere, selected for this exhibition, the author has assembled ironic and often humorous glimpses of dusty hinterland towns, where the impact of human settlement on the landscape produces some absurd and often surreal scenes.



© Trent Parke|Magnum Photos • Exhibition Australia, unfiltered