By Tristan Parker


This article was originally written as a blog entry on my personal blog, but I thought that it was something that could be shared with the Urban Picnic Community as a source of inspiration for others.


Where do you draw your inspiration for your photography from?

If you can’t answer this question clearly, then you’re in trouble I tell you. It might not be a simple answer to convey to others, granted, but it is an answer that you should be eager to provide to anyone who would ask such a personal question.

I am lucky. I have a very personal source of both inspiration and knowledge for my photographic journey. My Dad… He isn’t the single source, and I don’t think that any artist would ever claim to have only one influence in their work, but he is an important one.
For as long as I can remember my Dad has been involved in photography in some way shape of form. The most active period of actual shooting that I am aware of for him was during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when he was living overseas in Kuwait and Oman in the Persian Gulf. An interesting time to be in Kuwait no doubt.



Free Kuwait – Shot at the Free Kuwait Rally in London England ~1990


My Dad and I are about to submit an exhibition proposal to the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Fitzroy in Melbourne. This will be a proposal for a joint exhibition showing my Dads work from this period, and contrasting it with my current work in documenting the city of Melbourne. The aim being to allow the viewers a chance to assess the impact that a generation has on the work of photographers. I think it’s an interesting proposal.



Smoker – Shot in Africa ~1990


So in order for me to submit the proposal to the CCP for the exhibition, we had to scan in some of my Dads work prints and negs to provide with the proposal. This gave me the chance to write this sneaky little blog post to share what I think to be some important images in my life, and images that I was exposed to during my own formative years as a photographer. And all in all they are great shots in my opinion. The images that I am showing in this post were hanging in my family home for many years, next to large Ansel Adams prints, and I likely looked at them many times without really thinking about how they were influencing me at the time.



Fisherman – Shot in Africa ~1990


When I thought about this post, and when I thought about this exhibition proposal I was a little ignorant about the influence that some of this work had on my own decision to start working in the Street genre. I probably wouldn’t have considered the work that my Dad did Street Photography.

Maybe this was due to the fact that at the time they were taken, and I was there for some of them, I would have thought of them as travel shots. They are probably that as well I guess. But the exposure that they provided me to the monochrome medium of black and white film, and the fact that I used to go to the school darkroom with Dad when he was making his prints, is likely the start of my fascination with the art form.



Family – Shot in Oman ~1992


Since taking this body of work Dad has spent most of his energy in relation to photography passing on his skills and knowledge to his students at High School. During this time he hasn’t really shot as much I don’t think. Or maybe he has shot more, but the images on this post are still the ones that hang on the wall at home. For that reason I think it’s safe to assume that they are still what he sees as his best work.

I like to think that as I start to find myself as a photographer again in what I hope will be a long and slow process, that I might be able to influence him a little to get back in the creating images side of things rather than only teaching. He will retire soon as well, or at least so he keeps telling people. This will also give him time to work more as an artist. He will also build a studio at home, with a darkroom and a wine cellar. Trust me, I have seen the blueprints, so it must be happening.



Camel Man – Shot in Oman ~1992


I think that I have already had a small influence in this area. Dad is about to leave for China to travel the silk road for 3 weeks. He seems excited about shooting film again for the first time since I can remember in a long time. He is taking his trusty Nikon F4 with him, and I am sure he will return with some great images. I am sure that they will form the basis of another article, as I am sure that people who read this one, see the images above, and are able to relate to them, will want to see the next, and slightly newer instalment in my Dads work.

My Dads name is Greg Parker, and he is the reason I picked up a camera for the first time. So I have to say THANK YOU!

If you are an artist reading this post, I implore you to take some time to consider who and what influences you in the work that you do. Having this knowledge fresh in your mind allows you to recall it at any time that its needed. Inspiration comes in many forms, keep an open mind about where your next batch might come from!

If you enjoyed reading this article, more of my ramblings are at