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Trent Parke

Shark Bay, WA from the series 'Welcome to Nowhere'  2006

C type print, frame

128.5 × 156 × 4.5 cm

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2007

2007.21

About the Artwork

This image, from the series Welcome to Nowhere, depicts the coastal town of Shark Bay in Western Australia. The images from this series are wry and often humorous glimpses of dusty outback towns, in which the impact of human habitation on the landscape produces absurd and sometimes surreal situations. This view of a semi-permanent town of demountable dwellings being inspected by a parade of emus is no exception.

Trent Parke works primarily as a social documentary photographer. He has travelled extensively around Australia photographing scenes in small towns and regional centres that convey the particular quality of their environments and the lives lived within them.

For me it’s all about emotional connection. I love this country, love the people, everything about it … I am not really interested in any other country … I have always been interested in why I am drawn to something and why I eventually push the camera button. Most of it comes from memory, the subconscious and events I experienced growing up. The beach, the outback, the suburbs, I could never leave any of it. So much to do here in Australia, there is just no time for anywhere else anyway.

Trent Parke, 2014

Trent Parke

– About the artist

Born 1971, Newcastle, New South Wales. Lives and works Sydney.


Trent Parke began his career as a press photojournalist and in 2007 became the first Australian to be admitted as a member of the Magnum Photo Agency. Parke has been awarded three World Press Photo Awards, five Gold Lenses by the International Olympic Committee, and was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography in 2003. His book Dream/Life won second place in the 2000 American Picture of the Year Award for photography books.

Key exhibitions of Parke’s work include the The Black Rose, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2015); The Camera is God, Stills Gallery, Sydney (2014); Dark Heart: 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2014); Coming Soon, Stills Gallery, Sydney (2005); Minutes to Midnight, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (2005); and Dream/Life and The Seventh Wave, Canvas International Art Gallery, Amsterdam (2002).

Parke’s work is held in numerous public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Artbank, Sydney; Magnum Paris and Magnum London. His books Minutes to Midnight and The Christmas Tree Bucket were published by Steidl in 2013.

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