As freelance photojournalists a lot of what we do is in isolation. However, occasionally you find yourself working on a story in competition with other members of the media. It is during these times that bonds are formed. Colleagues become life-long friends and you find yourself a member of a unique global community. You catch up in exotic watering holes and swap stories, laugh, trade insults and argue about everything from ethics to the quality of the best local beer. In the field you watch each other’s backs. You develop respect for the integrity of your colleagues and draw inspiration from their work.
Whether it is photographing issue-related stories such as HIV/AIDS, or Third World conflict, or shooting daily life, photojournalists are expected to record what they see in a fair, truthful and informative way. They offer us stories of struggle and hope and document the aspirations and traditions of the World’s peoples. Some photographers push visual boundaries with complex compositions that can tell you as much about the photographer as the subject, using their mind’s-eye to record reality as art. Others seem less interested in making a ‘good photograph’ as they are about gathering evidence; creating images that will influence public opinion and go on to have historical significance.
Photojournalism is a precarious, often frustrating, occasionally wonderful way of life. Photojournalists are not protected from the reality of what is happening in front of them and are not immune to the effects of human emotion. Whatever the motivation to pursue this type of work–whether it is a sense of tradition, professional principle or humanitarian concern–in the hands of these dedicated professionals the camera has become a significant story-telling tool. Whether they are completing a personal project in some remote part of the world or working alongside their colleagues in the latest hotspot, photojournalists will continue to offer us a glimpse into the human condition.
A Nikon-Walkley Award winning photographer, David Dare Parker has been on assignment for numerous national and international publications throughout the World. Publications include Le Monde, Stern, L’Express, Focus, Australian Geographic, The Bulletin, The New York Times and TIME Magazine. As a film industry production stills photographer, recent credits include The Shark Net, 3 Acts of Murder, Cloudstreet, Underbelly Razor, Brothers In Arms – Bikie Wars, Underbelly Badness, Redfern Now, An Accidental Soldier and Son of a Gun.
Recent projects include coverage of East Timor’s struggle to gain independence and Indonesia’s first steps towards democracy. In January 2002 he co-ordinated a safety awareness course for Afghan Journalists in Peshawar, Pakistan for the International Federation of Journalists. During April and May of 2003 he was the Official War Photographer for the Australian War Memorial during Operation Falconer in the Middle East, the first time an Official Photographer had been assigned by the AWM since the Korean War.
David is one of the co-founders and Directors of REPORTAGE, was a Director of FotoFreo Festival of Photography, a Nikon-Walkley Advisory Board Member and is currently an Ambassador for Nikon Australia. He is a member of the photographer’s collective °SOUTH.