The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Untitled Places, an exhibition at City Gallery that assembles liminal landscapes by photographer Nigel Parry from March 1 through May 5, 2024. Parry, a renowned portrait photographer who has photographed US Presidents, celebrities, and other luminaries, will show more than forty of his impressionistic landscapes, photographed in the Lowcountry and upstate New York, almost exclusively on film. City Gallery will hold an opening reception on Friday, March 1 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, and an artist’s talk on Saturday, March 16 at 2:00 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.
Over his 35-year career, Parry has been lauded for his portraits of artists, politicians, and celebrities for publications like Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, among others. “I arrange the light, lines, composition, and color into an immediate impression of their being,” said Parry. When the pandemic left him without people to photograph, he returned to photographing the landscape, a hobby he enjoyed as a youth.
“My landscapes use all the same means of visual storytelling and intentions to show my highly personalized representation of the environment around me. These photographs are not necessarily meant to be a direct representation of the view I see, but more of a feeling of what it’s like to be there” adds Parry. The resulting landscapes of the Lowcountry and upstate New York offer abstract impressions of Parry’s surroundings. “Unwittingly referencing Rothko, I am drawn to separate the photograph into distinct slabs of color in which subtle details of the world around us are discovered: the wind through the marsh grass, the abrupt clash of sky and land, or the horizon where heaven and earth meld into one and details are barely perceived,” said Parry. The photos are almost exclusively from film cameras, and, adds Parry, “their inherent imperfections – lens aberrations, grain within the film’s various layers, chemical development, digitization, and printing processes – combine to transform the photographs into something more abstract and pointillistic, recognizable yet indistinct.”
About the Artist
Born in a small mining village in South Yorkshire, England, Nigel Parry spent his formative years drawing and painting. He earned a graphics degree in college, where typography and design inspired the compositions of his photography, which later became his primary focus. While designing books for publisher Faber&Faber in 1987, Parry was invited to exhibit his photographic portraits of members at the newly formed Groucho Club in London to rave reviews. A week Later the London Sunday Times Magazine gave him his first assignment.
Parry soon left his design position, and undertook portrait shoots in London for Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, ad agencies and film companies. In 1994 he moved to New York City, where his career photographing portraits for the most prestigious clients continued to grow, and now includes the current and former US Presidents, world leaders, Hollywood royalty, entrepreneurs, and other luminaries. He is most well-known for his celebrity portraits, but Parry has been capturing the landscape since his early teens. The same approach to understanding the subject, storytelling and emotion is evident in all his work, be it a face, food, or landscape. His photographs have won many awards, and he has published two monographs – ’Sharp’ and ‘Blunt’ (both published by Powerhouse books).
Parry first visited Charleston on assignment in 1995. He immediately fell in love with its warmth and charm, and eventually married one of its daughters. With his wife, Rachel, Parry now lives in Charleston, where last year he debuted his first show of Landscapes at the Corrigan Gallery. Having recently moved from New York, he continues his love for all disciplines of photography from his base here in the Lowcountry.
About City Gallery
City Gallery, located at Joe Riley Waterfront Park, is owned by the City of Charleston and operated by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, presenting an annual program of exhibitions and events featuring the finest contemporary art from local, regional, national and international artists, with a focus on the Lowcountry.