An Honest Expression by RENÉE PARKHURST

"The importance is staying true to who we are artistically and not changing that to appeal to fast changing trends. But as long as it feels right, go for it."


Renée Parkhurst


THE STORY


Profession:

Photographer


Current Location:

Beachwood Canyon, LA


Early Career:

I was inspired as a child by my family’s artistic abilities and leaned into my interest of photography in my early teens. Growing up with a dad who did everything under the sun pertaining to art - multiple job titles from art director to fine artist - making a career based around creativity seemed more common to me than anything else. It was just what we were, naturally. I started building my skills and working on small photo jobs in San Clemente where I grew up, but after moving to Australia at 21 (2011) is where it really began. I was contributing regularly for Oyster Magazine, working for local Australian brands, and getting to know wonderful people in the industry over there. Not long after the move to Australia my career started taking off. I think the starting stage of one’s career in the creative industry is really impacted by the people you surround yourself with, people that inspire you, and to build that platform to be seen. There are so many insanely talented artists out there that need to be seen.



Current Works:

I recently just did a really fun shoot with Dolce & Gabbana out in the desert which was an incredible experience. Vogue Japan which has always been a fav & also a Saint Laurent beauty feature I loved working on with Rola. Now that life seems to be going at a good pace I’m aiming to start back on my third solo exhibition. I started building the concept a bit before 2020, obviously that all got put on hold but now I think I’m ready to dive back into that. Those works are always my favorite and although exhausting, the most rewarding.


People/Brands/Companies/Organizations you have worked with:

Some of my favorites have been for Vogue Portugal, Vogue Italia, Dazed, Elle, i-D, YSL Beauty, Chanel, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, L’Officiel, Document Journal.



The work you are the most proud of:

My Vogue Portugal cover is probably the work I am most proud of, besides it being my first Vogue cover of course, but I creative directed and produced it - it felt completely and authentically me. The Vogue Italia story as well I love, very romantic and moody. An older story I did for Numero Netherlands is still one of my favorites to this day, really felt as an honest expression and beautiful with such a great team too. But again, my two solo exhibitions I am most proud of beyond client work. The thing in which all of these shoots have in common is the creative control and trust I was given.



THE Qu & A

What are 3 values that you wish to mediate through your work?

​​

Authentic expression

Emotion

Growth


What are 3 relevant problems that you wish to solve through your work?


Articulating thought to final product

Creating an honest expression

Consistency



GENESIS


Why do you create?

I create because it is one of the single most important ways to know who I am. There are so many distractions that can leave us forgetting who we are until we are alone in our own thoughts, and these thoughts come together to form the expression that we need. Simple reminders of where we came from and where we want to go.


How do you create?

In a literal sense, I make images. I also write and paint. These images / stories come from memories, experiences, and dreams. They come from an emotion or a feeling that resonates within.


What do you live for?

For family, for love, for intimacy, and for the curiosity to taste as much of the vast and complex world that is out there.


How do you live?

Delicately and aggressively.



THE CONVERSATION


How do we stay relevant and inspired?

Question asked by Florence Tsai, Writer, Editor & Jewelry Designer, Hong Kong


I think constantly evolving within our work is key for this, pushing our growth and keeping positive challenges present. Getting into new experiences or places also can contribute to inspiration on a large scale. The importance is staying true to who we are artistically and not changing that to appeal to fast changing trends. But as long as it feels right, go for it.



What’s happening next doesn’t really affect those who live in their own creative world, does it?

Question asked by Helen Ma, President & Founding Partner of Manna Group, Hong Kong


I believe that everything that has happened, is happening, and what will happen next will always affect those that live in their creative world because beyond being in our own, that creative world is a product of what elemental factors are at hand. One’s own creative world can be a very sensitive and reactionary place to be in.



Are jobs such as photography, as well as model hiring, going to maintain the values that we have been managing?

Question asked by John Zalazar, Photographer & Model Agent, Cordoba, Argentina


I can predict, or hope in all optimistic ways that values will improve due to an immense amount of knowledge and easily accessed worldwide conversations surrounding the topics. While some can say there has been a large amount of minds that have been closed, I’d say there’s more that have been opened.


This interview contributes to a new media format, where Creatives are in full control of their narratives. By exploring alternatives to narrative journalism, GAHSP starts unconventional conversations, emphasizing values and problems that shape our lives collectively.


Written and Edited by Julia Horvath

Image Courtesy of Renée Parkhurst