The musician who made purple regal again and gave the music world a much needed dose of flamboyance is celebrated in this exhibition of photographs by his in-house photographer, revealing a side of Prince often kept from public view.
Having met in the late 1980s, Prince requested Parke as his official photographer and the two worked together for over 13 years, creating the star’s universal image of ‘gender fluidity and sexual expression.’ Parke, who became a trusted companion of the singer-songwriter, described Prince as a ‘mecca of creativity’.
‘I knew I was pushing it but I thought the shot would be worth it,’ reminisces Parke about photographing the star in the grounds of his private estate and recording studio, Paisley Park. ‘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.’
With an extensive archive of over 500 photographs, from candid backstage shots and album imagery to intimate shots of Prince with his first wife Mayte Garcia and never-before-seen photos, we get a rare insight into the character of a man beloved for his innovative approach to blending funk, pop, R&B and rock.
Picturing Prince: Photographs by Steve Parke will be at Proud Central, 32 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6BP from November 9 to December 3, 2017.
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