Interview the Artist – Deborah Parkin
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in a small market town in the north of England … sandwiched between the beautiful lake district and the Northumberland coast. I have been living here for 5 years now having come from the South.
I live with my husband and my two children and the latest arrival is our puppy Daisy.
What is your first memory of using a camera?
If I am honest, I don’t have a first memory. When I was young my mum didn’t own a camera but her boyfriends did. The one I remember the most was a Polaroid … we have lots of Polaroid images of my past, but I can’t ever imagine being able to hold it let alone use it. My first SLR was bought for me about ten years ago … a Minolta, I still have it and this is where my love of photography started.
Do you have any formal training?
Yes I do but ironically I have just left university so that I can follow my own path. I was doing a degree in photography and learnt quite a bit, especially on the technical side such as darkroom skills and studio work as well as medium and large format photography.
What camera/s do you use?
The camera I use at the moment is a Hasselblad 500c. I love it! I love the square format and the fact that I only have 12 images to play with on a roll of film … it makes me slow down and be more considered. I have also just started playing around with a large format pinhole camera and will be looking to get a large format camera very soon.
Do you manipulate or edit your photos digitally and how?
Sometimes. However, saying that I don’t change the photo in ways that couldn’t be done in the darkroom. If I scan an image I will usually use curves to get a good strong contrast (I usually would use a grade 5 filter in darkroom) and I will dodge and burn too. I don’t change the essence of the original … I don’t add people in or change faces etc.
What inspires you?
My children. My childhood.
Do you think of yourself as having a photographic “style”? If so… what would it be?
I think so. I would say that it is the fact that I use black and white exclusively and my work can be quite dark in appearance and concept – well that’s my style. This style though is evolving all the time.
Do you make your living with your photography?
Of all of your photographs, which is your favorite?
At the moment I would say ‘playtime’. I think it is because it was exactly the picture I had in my mind when I took it but more importantly, I was surprised by how many people related to it. Many people also felt the loneliness and isolation at school that I did.
Who is your favorite photographer?
I couldn’t say just one but I am constantly inspired by:
William Ropp, Sally Mann, Sarah Moon and Francesca Woodman.
Where can readers find your work online?
My website: www.deborahparkin.com
Do you have a specific subject or genre you prefer to shoot?
Children, without a doubt. They are not always the easiest but they are so interesting … so funny and sometimes complex … you never know what you are going to get.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of being behind the camera?
This is difficult to answer. I love the whole process … thinking about the project, taking the picture, looking for places to go, developing the negs through to the final image … I love it all.
Are you connected to an online photographic community?
Yes, Red Bubble
Some random questions here…
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
Cereal or toast with marmite and peanut butter.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself?
Oh Goodness!! I have no idea – I shall ask my husband. Apparently it should be The lovely Emma Thompson haha!! … she could get the complexity of my emotions – intensity and the light-heartedness that I am
What super power would you like to have? Why?
Would hate to be a super power .. I have no leadership qualities. I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like telling others what to do. Saying that if I could make the world a better, kinder place without any arguments then maybe I would consider it J
What do you do to relax?
Photography, of course but I also like to run.