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Parkerparker, Rochester Hills, MI

James Parker

member since: 03/27/2006
Festival biz experience: 15+ years
USA: Rochester Hills, Michigan (MI)
Phone: (248) 375-9791
Riding, ranching and art direction

James Parker was born in South Dakota. Growing up as a boy in the Black Hills of South Dakota, he was introduced to the creative pursuits early on, by his father, Dr. Watson Parker. Dr. Parker taught James to read and write at ripe young age of 5 years old.

Both father and grandfather wrangled horses, tourists and children at Palmer Gulch Lodge, a guest ranch. His father gave him his first camera when he was 7. Watson showed him how to use the Brownie, gave him a roll of film, and told him to bring it back when he was done exposing the negative. James went through a number of hand-me-down cameras — an old Voigtlander, an Argus C3, a Mamiya and others, before finally getting a decent SLR after college.

Education and Experience

James's degree is in Visual Communication. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he went to work for a friend of Watson's who taught him the ropes in advertising. Hugh Lambert also taught James how to visualize and how to think about lighting. Much of the scientific method he takes for granted now was learned at Hugh's knee. Parker worked for several ad agencies over the next thirty years, moving up from junior art director, to Creative Director, to Managing Director at the Chicago office of a national interactive marketing services firm. In between, James met his wife, got married, and partnered up with some old friends in Chicago, all the while still shooting Out West.

After leaving the Windy City, Parker moved back to Michigan, and began pursuing his dream of shooting full-time. He purchased his first digital SLR, his first pigment printer, and then his second printer. And my third. He did his first show, in Muskegon in 2005, and won his first award check. That was sweet. James went through a couple of trailers, and put a lot of miles on his Jeep before graduating to a full-size truck.

Telling Your Own Story

With his background in advertising and art direction, Parker has branched out into helping others tell their own stories. From consulting and free advice, to designing books and shooting assignment photography, Parker is uniquely positioned to offer his 40 years of experience to corporate and private entities. Learn more about his photographic work, as well as some of his recent project work at his website, above.

Prints and books can be ordered directly via the site. Parker and his wife Karyn make their home and studio in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
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