Parker Day's saturated masterpieces have graced the site on a couple of occasions, and with her solo show up at Superchief, I thought it would be a good time to share this shiny new commissioned series. Her new set of photographs called Twin Stars expresses the power of interdependence and unity. The goal of the project was capturing portraits of two people together who look similar and are expressing the same feeling. She wanted them to both be outsider types, enforcing the idea that there's safety in being strange when you're connected to others and form your own community.
I talked to her about this new project and the inspiration behind her other work below.
VICE: How did you chose the pairings for this new series?
Parker Day: They chose their own buddies! I first talked to one half of the pairs and told them about what I was up to and asked if they had a friend they wanted to pose with, preferably who looked similar or who could at least be styled in the same vein. It was only natural for me to work with people who already had good chemistry together. It also made for a really fun, relaxed vibe while shooting.
What's your favorite image in this batch?
Wow, that's hard. I love the Evil Boy Scouts (Nate & Hudson,) but I keep lingering on the Sad Clowns (Noel & Tori). There's something so sweetly supportive about Noel's gaze and gesture. That photo makes me feel a good kinda sad.
What do you look for, generally, in your portraits?
I like working with unique, creative weirdos who don't take themselves too seriously, people who aren't overly attached to their egos and have the courage to subvert our cultural symbols of identity. I like outsider types who have had to forge themselves on the fringes and wear their hard-won confidence with pride. And when I'm photographing, I'm aiming to capture authentic, relatable humanity in the context of the unfamiliar.
Who are some of your influences, if any?
Francis Bacon is my number one perennial art crush. Books have had a major influence on me: The Stranger by Camus, Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky, The Metamorphosis by Kafka, and Steppenwolf by Hesse are chief among them. The absurdist and existentialist thought in those books shines through a technicolor prism in my work. I'm not sure where I got the technicolor prism from... I probably stole it from David LaChapelle in the late 90s.
Do you have any advice for new photographers trying to break into the industry?
First, figure out what kind of photographer you want to be. For me, I knew from day 1 I wanted to focus on my art and only take jobs that were in line with who I am as an artist. Then figure out who you are and who you have been. That'll help you get clear on what you uniquely have to offer and to work with. I recommend looking way back; the shit you liked in adolescence is probably still informing your taste now. The truer you can be to yourself, the more success you'll find, I truly believe that. And don't forget, you gotta put in the work! Commitment is key. Even in the times you're not feeling inspired, do something, anything, to work towards your goals. Even if it's one measly email to someone you want to work with, who may or may not get back to you. You'll be surprised where you can get to when you refuse to stop going.
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