MODERN STARDOM

With rare exceptions, fashion photography tends to follow the same blueprint and procedures, becoming almost a visionary free zone for the good reason that this is what the giant engine of the industry imposes.
The independent status is under constant threat of being marginalized but Skye Parrot has chosen to embrace a style that has become instantly recognizable, great in quality, revealing a tale of fluent energy and often displaying a magical seventies touch (black and white photography, soft focus, warm tones all contributing to the nostalgic effect). At the heart of her values there is a distinctly romantic brew of liberty and well-defined poetic characteristics almost always accompanied by a traditional narrative. She uses a natural photographic expressiveness which I find incredibly moving. The legacy of her time spent working as Nan Goldin’s studio manager is present in some of her work, through beautiful autobiographical elements. My interest in her work started a few years ago when her images were published in magazines like Jalouse, Lula, Purple, Mixte and Big Man. I fell in love with the earthy and intimate language of her pictures, ferociously different from the super retouched and digital manipulations of Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott (and the likes). She’s like a magician casting a spell. A relevant contemporary alternative to the usual players.
In this spirit of fashion photography freethinkers which should be celebrated, my prize goes to Skye! She’s a celebrated storyteller on the fashion scene, pushing boundaries with her images, exhibitions and her latest project the bi-annual publication Dossier.

Skye was extremely generous and accepted to answer a few of my questions. Here are her revelations!

Where do you find inspiration?
Photography, art, movies, books, traveling, people. Pretty much anything beautiful I see is inspiring. And I try to make myself look closely at the world around me, especially the small things. It takes a lot of practice, especially when things get crazy with work and whatnot, but that’s always my goal.

How would your describe your photographs?
A lot of my personal work is pictures of these little moments, with nothing in particular or special going on, but just a memory of this slice of time. A lot of people have told me my pictures feel cinematic, which isn’t deliberate but which makes sense to me. A film still is just stopped moment of a movie – and I love the feeling of wanting to know what happened before or after.

Did you study photography?
I took some photography classes at Parsons and SVA when I was 17 and 18, but I actually studied Political Science in college. I thought I was going to be a lawyer.

Would you like to experiment with other media and where do you see your creativity going in the future?
I started a magazine, Dossier, last year with my best friend, and I spend a lot of time now working on that as the Creative Director. That’s been really amazing because it’s allowed me to explore the curatorial side of things: picking photographers whose work I like and giving them a space to work on projects. I really didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy that when I started the magazine, but it’s been one of the most enjoyable aspects of it.
In terms of other media, I’m starting work now on a personal project that combines photographs and words. I keep thinking I’d like to work with films at some point too, but I haven’t tried yet.

Can you tell me a little bit more about your latest personal project, is it a book?
I just came out with a book called Perfect Days that was published in conjunction with my show in January at Galerie Plume in Paris. Those images come from the portraits and landscapes that I shoot of the people and places around me. Up until now, most of my personal work has been shot that way, except for one series I did of nudes last year. Now I just started working on a new project that is more staged, and it uses words and text to talk about memory. It's definitely the most conceptual thing I've ever done. I don't know how it's going to turn out!

Do you admire other photographers?
So many of them. My mother, Virginia Parrott, is one of my favorite color photographers. For more well-known photographers, Nan Goldin has been a huge influence, and I was lucky enough to assist her for several years. I also love David Armstrong, Peter Hujar, William Eggleston, Sally Mann, Bruce Davidson, Ed van der Elsken, Saul Leiter, Helmut Newton, and then older black and white photographers like Brassai, Dorothea Lange, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, and Lartigue. At the moment there seem to be a lot of amazing Japanese photographers, like Rinko Kawauchi and Asako Narahashi. I love photography in general so I’m always looking out for work I haven’t seen before.

You grew up with a mother who worked as a photographer, why did you initially pursue Political Science studies? How long did it take before you realized that your professional sensitivity, your calling, was actually the world of photography?
Both my mother and my father are artists, but they always had other jobs. Even though I had that inclination towards the arts early on, I think I pursued a degree in Political Science because I had this idea that the arts were this incredibly difficult, unstable profession and I would be smarter to have a job and pursue photography on the side. Ultimately, though, I realized that what I actually wanted to do was take pictures, and that I might as well give that a try before I resigned myself to doing something else. Also, I really enjoyed my Law classes in school. I probably would have enjoyed being a lawyer. It just would have been using a different part of myself.

You seem to have a deep knowledge of “vintage” photography but are you interested in the extremely retouched genre?
Honestly, it’s just not my thing. I think there are two ways to photograph: either you take a picture of what you see, or you make what you want to see. What interests me is finding what I want and taking a picture of it, not constructing it. Obviously in fashion photography there’s always going to be a certain element of fabrication, but even within that, I’m always looking for that decisive moment Cartier-Bresson talked about, because to me what’s most interesting is what’s true.

What is your earliest memory of photography?
Growing up with a photographer for a mother, my earliest memories of photography are of having my picture taken – all the time. My mother’s camera was always there, like an extension of her arm.

Who gave you your first job?
My first photo job was a menswear editorial for 10 Men. My friend Christopher Niquet is a stylist and he saw some tests I had done and asked me to shoot it for him. I was incredibly nervous and incredibly excited at the same time and I still really like the pictures we did.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years time?
I can't even pretend to know the answer to that!

What is your favourite city in the world?
Unquestionably, New York. It’s where I grew up, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but there’s just nowhere else like it. I’ve lived in LA and Paris and living in both places I missed New York like it was a person.

Do you speak any other languages?
I speak French fluently because I lived in Paris for five years. My boyfriend for a long time was German so I understand a little German, but I’m embarrassed to say the only sentences I know are about animals and food.

What is your favourite book?
Lolita.

What is your favourite song/genre of music?
I’m pretty useless when it comes to music. I mostly just listen to Bob Dylan.



For more info click on the links below (underlined words)

Her website is Skye Parrott

She is the co-founder and creative director of Dossier

The book from her show at Galerie Plume will be available from Claire de Rouen in the near future. Go here for a sneak preview: V magazine

One of her previous books is available to buy from Akdavis

The Dossier shop is located at 244 DeKalb Avenue (Vanderbilt & Clemont Avenues) and sells books, vintage clothes and Zac Posen designed Dossier bag.



Skye 1
Skye 11
Skye 9
Picture 8
Picture 5
s
Picture 4
Skye 4
Picture 3
Picture 1
Picture 6
Skye 8
Skye 2

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the Jalouse spread on my wall in the office (the one with the girl by the swimming-pool). I love her stuff!

Anonymous said...

wow...she is quite fantastic...really.
nancy

Gala said...

lovely work, i loe the black and whites

...love Maegan said...

this is great ...and lovely photos to accompany it.

laia. said...

this is so cool. thanks!

E.K. said...

This is wonderful.

Lisa said...

so captivating.

seriously incredible.

thanks girl

<3

Wes. said...

inspiring

zoë said...

the girl in the second-last picture reminds me of madonna ..
all of the photographs are brilliant !

xo

holierthannow said...

speaking of interviews, I just got tagged to answer a bunch of random questions and I am supposed to tag 5 others back- I bet you are loathe to do these things but you should! It's kind of refreshingly simple and silly, and people would love to read your answers.

I never do this stuff but tonight they got me in the right mood...

xo (it's all up on my blog, just cut and paste).

miss a. said...

I love her answer for why she ultimately chose photography over pursuing a career in law. As someone who is going through a quarter life crisis, that's just the type of answer I love hearing.

The Dark Bohemiian said...

HII !!
LET ME INTRODUCE YOU
MY BLOG ABOUT BLACK SUPERMODELS
VISIT AD LET ME KNOW WHAT U THINK
ABOUT MY WORK
WAITING FOR YOUR VISIT AND COMMENTS
GONNA DO THE SAME FOR U
HOPING ILL SEE U SOON !!!

Anna said...

Beautiful beautiful photos

tune said...

i do hate pictures with cigarette.
the art of killing people ?
sorry !
I know that's my problem.

i.d. said...

Great interview! I love getting insight from people in the industry.

broadcast.poulet said...

wowowowowowowowow

Miranda said...

thanks for introducing me... shes incredible..i've seen her work a lot but never knew who it was

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