Trent Parke’s Twilight Portraits of his Hometown
During his evening walks, Trent Parke captured dusk settling on Adelaide's streets
In describing the landscape of his hometown, Adelaide, Trente Parke conjures a vision of the urban landscape with a poetic narrative that centres on light – in particular, that bewitching ‘last half hour’ of the day. The Magnum photographer’s personal Adelaide is a quiet and flat, although flooded with an intense light, that grows increasingly infused with deeply saturated hues as night draws closer. In lucid prose, Parke recounts how dusk inspired the late painter Jeffrey Smart’s hyperreal cityscapes, or James Cyril Stobie’s ‘SEC poles’ into existence and prompts him to walk the length of the city, “continually running through the streets of light and time”.
The project was produced for Home, a worldwide project that saw sixteen Magnum photographers reflect on the universal theme of ‘home’ on the invitation of FujiFilm. Touring internationally, the exhibition’s next iteration will be staged in Milan, opening on October 19. In the lead up to its launch, Trent Parke shares his thoughts.
The city of Adelaide is very flat.
The streets are wide and the sun sets over the ocean.
The last light is sharp and unique.
The yin and the yang.
Because quiet I am not.
The great Australian painter Jeffrey Smart was born
in Adelaide in 1921.
These photographs were taken in his old stomping
ground, which as a matter of chance, I now call home.
It’s hard not to see Mr. Smart in the reflection of every
lamp post and Stobie pole, which by the way, is an
idiosyncratic power line invented in Adelaide, and
named of course, after Mr. Stobie.
Like Mr. Smart, it’s the last half hour of sunlight that
interests me most.
For those 30 minutes, sand seems to slip through the
hourglass with increasing speed.
Inevitably, I find myself running … destination unknown,
a place I can never ever reach.
Day after day. Year after year. I find myself lured back
Continually running through the streets of light and time.
There is nothing quiet about any of these images.
The Magnum Home exhibition opens next in Milan. More info here. See more stories from this project here.