The partnership between Prince and Steven Parke was first consolidated when the ethereal artist asked Parke if he’d like to be his official photographer.
Having first met at Prince’s Paisley Park Estate – a place Parke describes as “a mecca of creativity” – in the late ’80s, the pair went on to collaborate together for 13 years. With Parke as Prince’s creative director, they oversaw album covers, designs and the creation of an archive of over 500 photographs.
This November, Proud Galleries will present Picturing Prince: Photographs by Steve Parke, a collection of rare and intimate taken during that creative partnership. Made up of a series of candid shots of the other-worldly artist in and around Paisley Park, the images shine a light on his unparalleled charisma, as well as the man behind the magic. “I knew I was pushing it, but I thought the shot would be worth it,” recalls Parke, referring to an iconic image of Prince taken through reeds in the estate’s grounds. “He stepped back and back and back. I can only imagine he was starting to sink, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“‘That’s great,’ I said finally. As I looked through the lens, I noticed his demeanour was a world apart from his usual one: he just seemed utterly relaxed and at peace.”
Picturing Prince: Photographs by Steve Parke runs from November 9 – December 3 at Proud Galleries, accompanied by a fully illustrated book published by Parke in collaboration with Octopus Publishing Group.
Caught a Plane to Spain, 1999 © Steven Parke
Just a reflection of Kisses, Spain, 1999 © Steven Parke
Words by HQ