This week we caught up with L.A.-based photographer Renee Parkhurst, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, from YSL to Levi’s to Oyster Magazine. She briefs us on her favorite projects, networking, and her latest solo exhibition. Scroll to keep reading:
You’ve worked with some pretty big brands/publications; what were some of your favorite projects to shoot?
R: Hi! I just shot a campaign for Silencio mezcal and we had alive bats on set, I’ve never seen a bat so close before. Interesting little creatures. YSL beauty early last year was really fun. Oh, of course, the swim campaign for Peony swimwear late last year they took me to Cuba which was remarkably beautiful and definitely one of the tops on the list. Anywhere I can travel to work I’m so grateful. All the exhibition shoots on top of everything of course too I mean that’s a given, personal projects are always the most rewarding.
Your second solo exhibition was shown earlier this year in LA, what inspired the HIDE series?
R: HIDE was born out of my observation of a culture we live in where privacy is more uncommon for most individuals and exploitation of our lives is as normal as any other thing day to day we encounter. I created intimate moments and personal scenes where typically one would find themselves vulnerable, then I shot it in a way to censor what is happening. Putting a more abstract touch on it than my first show, PURE which was just as conceptual but more straight forward visually. Adding the intensity and mystery to these powerful and contrasting images had me in love.
How big of a role does networking play in your job?
R: I don’t network in expectation of using that to succeed. When you surround yourself with people who inspire you that are your friends and you get to work and create together, it is honestly the best thing. The creative process becomes so fluid and takes huge leaps into something great and meaningful.
What would your dream gig be?
R: Alexander McQueen.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers who look up to you?
R: Don’t obsess over Instagram / social media, try to stay away from it and find inspiration in outside sources! Books, films, music, personal life, dreams, experiences. Tell your own story, don’t try to impress anyone based on what you think other people are liking! So important. There’s too much trash out there on the internet and the truth is social media is ruining photography and giving an incorrect representation of what a photo should be held for worth.
Who is inspiring you on Instagram right now?
R: Back to before, I try not to use Instagram for inspiration. I enjoy interior design instagrams. Funny ones are welcome.
What is your star sign?
Do you think it’s accurate?
R: Yes and no, I don’t know. Some of the personality traits attached to star signs are so vast and I think people look way too into it/ looking for it in a way. I think there are more important variables to what has happened in the early stages of life that dictate personalities. Maybe that’s an Aries answer, ha. Who knows.
See Renee’s portfolio here: https://www.reneeparkhurst.com/
Follow Renee on IG here: @renee_parkhurst
Cover Photo Via Renee Parkhurst
Words by Kate Sullivan