Today is the last day of the Do What You Love Series. I hope you guys enjoy reading it. Friday’s features comes from photographer Clifton Parker. Read on!!!
Clifton Parker is an artist versed and established in many mediums. He has worked on stage, screen, and in the studio pursuing his artistic endeavors. His work has varied from performing in front of the lens and microphone to being behind the camera and mixing board.
Clifton draws from these experiences in the music and fashion industries to incorporate them in his work creating his unique photographic vision filled with a raw, playful beauty and sensual attitude. With these strong influences and unique visions, Clifton produces an eclectic and incomparable body of work in the fields of fashion, editorial, product, and advertising photography.
How did you get into fashion photography? Tell me how and when everything started.
I’ve always been very interested in fashion, the arts, and music. I grew up as an artist and a musician.I dropped out of art school to become a recording and touring musician for most of my twenties. But as that drew to a close, I went back to college to finish my degree in fine arts. I have worked in almost every artistic medium – painting, sculpting, graphics, etc. Photography was the only medium that gave me the rush and emotional release similar to that of performing on stage. When I am shooting, I am still a rock star! Fashion photography combined my passion for fashion, art, and photography, with the energy of being on stage.
If you weren’t in the fashion photography industry, what would you like to be doing?
If I were no longer in the fashion and photography industry I would probably still be playing music full-time. I still Dj gigs in NY, LA, and elsewhere as well as perform the occasional vocal or guitar tracks in studio or on-stage with various music projects. I also have a passion for vintage European motorcycles. So maybe I would open a garage and restoration service where I could embrace my inner grease monkey.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is somewhat dualistic. The common thread in my style is anedgy rock-n-roll look that is always apparent whether I’m wearing a vintage t, jeans, and my Prada shit-kicker motorcycle boots, or if I’m sporting my skinny, one-button Valentino Red suit and skinny tie with patent leather oxfords. I always have that same rock-n-roll edge.
Who is your favorite designer?
Tom Ford will always be one of my favorite designers. It was amazing what he was doing with Gucci during the 10 years he was creative director. He brought back a certain swagger and sexuality to fashion that had been missing for quite some time. He gave us luxury with very definitive, sensuous edge. I believe I achieve this same subtle sexuality and luxurious imagery within my photography.
One of my most cherished pieces of clothing is a pair ofTom Ford era,Gucci motorcycle pants.They are black and white herringbone with lamb-leather lining. I’m actually pulling them out of the closest for an upcoming fashion shoot/film that I doing at the Darlington Speedway in South Carolina. It is going to be a greatSteve McQueen inspired shoot with a mint 1965 GTO on the speedway! I can’t wait!
If you had a choice of all designers in the world who would you prefer to work with and why?
As much as I like Tom Ford’s work, if I had to pick a designer that I would most like to work with it would be HediSlimane. I admire him as I think he is a complete artist from his fashion designs to his photography. It would be exciting and inspirational to work with someone who knows the camera as well as fashion.
Which magazines do you read?
My face is usually planted in one of the American men’s fashion or culture magazines – Details, GQ, Esquire, Surface, etc., and I love the European fashion and culture mags as well – Wallpaper, W25 (which I have work coming out in), and I-D, to name a few.
Are there any special projects you are working on?
I am currently working on a photography book entitled Lost Scapes– www.lostscapes.com. It is a photographic memoir of landscapes and objects that I have encountered during my travels and rambling throughout the United States. The photos are taken with vintage and expired Polaroid film, that in some cases is well over decade old, and vintage Polaroid cameras from the 70’s. Using the expired film gives the photos a shift in color and a general unpredictability that contributes to the overall esthetic quality of the photos.
What motivates you?
What motivates me most is working with other artists such as art directors, designers, stylists, etc.,who are talented and passionate about their work. Working with talented individuals helps me to take my work to a higher level of perfection.
What’s next for you?
I’m always working on new commercial and advertising projects. The most exciting thing I’m working on now is the self-directed fashion editorial that I am doing at the Darlington Speedway. It incorporates fashion, as well as vintage automobiles and racing. I’m planning on doing a short film to coincide with the photo editorial as I am trying to get more into the role of a director and director of photography.
What do you do in your down time?
In my downtime I work on one of my two vintage motorcycles. I have a 1973 MotoGuzzi Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle, and a 1968 Norton Fastback café racer. Being a grease monkey is very Zen for me. It allows me to focus on the physical and be in the moment. That is the same feeling I get when I’m riding motorcycles. You focus on the road and the moment.
Thank you Clifton for taking the time to do the feature!