Parker Hill is a writer and director living in New York City who has recently become enchanted by the medium of film photography. The images in this feature are from Parker’s Little Boxes series shot entirely on film.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started in photography.
I’m a New York City based filmmaker. I’ve made several short films, including my latest, ONE GOOD PITCH, which is having its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
I recently graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where I studied film and television. During my time at school, I was more focused on writing Aaron Sorkin-type dialogue than anything else. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve discovered the extraordinary power of visual storytelling. A friend of mine started showing me some incredible photography and I was instantly hooked. As a filmmaker, I watch a lot of movies, but I had never really looked to photography before for inspiration. I guess I never considered how possible it is for a single image to tell a story. Seems ridiculous now that it took me 23 years to figure that out.
So I borrowed my friend’s 35mm camera and shot my first roll. Shooting on film is exhilarating and it makes my pictures feel like proof that I was there.
How would you define your style?
I’m just getting started, I don’t think I have one yet. I read a quote once that said we’re going to spend our entire lives trying to find our point of view—so I’ve got time. For now, I hope my work feels question-begging. Oh and graphic, I care about them thirds.
Shooting on film is exhilarating and it makes my pictures feel like proof that I was there.
Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
Family, the suburbs, America, William Eggleston, Todd Hido, Stephen Shore, Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver.
What has been the best piece of advice given to you about your photography?
A friend of mine told me “Don’t be too literal”. The audience will be more connected and bring more of themselves when there’s mystery. We shouldn’t try and explain everything.
Our eyes are drawn to light and movement, so I can deliberately bring the audience’s attention to different details at different moments.
What is next for you; are you currently working on any new projects that you can tell us about?
I recently discovered Cinemagraphs, which are basically still photos in which a minor part of the frame moves. It’s not a new concept but new to me. I think the medium has huge narrative potential, and I’m working on a series of them. What draws me to the idea is that I can control when and where someone’s eyes will move about the frame. Our eyes are drawn to light and movement, so I can deliberately bring the audience’s attention to different details at different moments. I’m very excited to see how this concept develops (yes, that was a film pun).
See more of Parker’s work at:
All images copyright Parker Hill.