This month’s photography spotlight includes one of our youngest members, 15 year old photographer Parker Cunningham. Originally from Australia, Parker and his family moved in 2012 to Helena, Alabama where he found a passion for landscape and animal photography. His photography skills go way beyond his years! Parker is a great example for young photographers just starting out who have a passion for photography and want to build their career. Parker now uses Fine Art America as his website portfolio and fulfillment partner. He currently has 330 followers and 95,898 views. We interviewed Parker to learn more about his story:
When did you start photography and why? I discovered photography for the first time in 2012. I had just moved from Australia to Alabama and didn’t know too many people or have much to do! One day I picked up my mom’s camera and began to play around with it. It was as simple as walking around the neighborhood taking snapshots, but I was immediately hooked. From the sound of the shutter to the journey of getting the shot, I loved capturing unique and natural beauty. A year into photography I saved up for a camera of my own!
What was your first camera and what do you currently use? I began with an old Nikon D40. As I fell more in love with photography, I started shooting more and more with the it. After a year of using my mom’s D40, an unexpected change came about! I had just gotten back from a photographic expedition around the neighborhood. I placed my camera on a desk and prepared to download the images. As I turned around to look for the cord, I heard the camera fall to the ground. I quickly picked it up to find that the lens was broken! Fortunately, the incident was the perfect motivation for me to save up for a camera I could call my own! After doing various odd jobs to raise money, I bought the Nikon D5200, which I still use today. My mom still jokes around that I owe her a new camera!
What is your favorite subject to shoot? Tough question! There are so many things I love to shoot. If I had to choose, I think it would come down to autumn lakes and waterfalls. I love capturing the movement of water. Reflections on a lake are so unique and fun to work with! I think autumn is a very special time of year. The weather is just about perfect and the foliage is breathtakingly beautiful. I really enjoy using long exposure photography to give a smooth feel to a waterfall. It is a great way of portraying the power but also the tranquility of cascading water. I also love capturing any moment that will not last forever. I think that is what makes photography so unique. I can go out and capture a scene in a single frame and allow others to experience that moment with me. Whether it is a chance encounter with wildlife or a vibrant sunset, I want to share that scene with others!
How did you discover Fine Art America and what is your favorite tool? About a year into developing an interest in photography, I saw many other artists using Fine Art America. After asking a few about it, I received positive recommendations about the site, so I decided to join. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! The high quality prints and fantastic customer service have given me an outlet for my work in ways I never had before. At my age, there is no way I would be able to handle all of the printing, monetary transactions, and shipping. With the help of Fine Art America, I can do all that and so much more. My favorite tool on Fine Art America would have to be the Artist Website. It is such a powerful tool that is so easy to work with. Also, I would say the discussion forum on Fine Art America has had a large impact in shaping me as a photographer. There are so many experienced artists ready to give advice or a helping hand. I have learned a lot about marketing and how to better my photography through the discussion forum.
Do you have a favorite photographer or where do you find your inspiration? When I am out exploring nature, I can’t help but be inspired. In a photograph, I want to capture what I am experiencing. If it is a warm sunset, I want to convey that warmth in the image I take. If it is an autumn landscape, I want to highlight the colors of the season. I love sharing my perspective, whether it is in small details of a flower or a mountain landscape.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since selling your photography? Is age an issue? The biggest thing I have learned is to create for me. I find when I am creating for others, the images turn out flat, uninspired. When I am thinking of how others will like this or that idea, it takes the joy of a moment away, and it shows in the images. Whenever I photograph a scene, I remind myself to shoot for me, to enjoy the moment. Hopefully my perspective of a scene will resonate with someone else, but that should come naturally. Being 15, the biggest limitation for me is not being able to go to as many places as I would like! If I want to go explore somewhere new, I am always relying on other people to get me there. However, limitations can also force me to become more creative with a scene. Since I’m around the same places, I am constantly thinking of new ideas to portray the scene in a different light!
Starting young has also given me opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I feel like I have a different perspective that I can show others. My age is a great way to connect to new people as well. At local festivals, I enjoy talking to others about my story. I think being young has helped me truly enjoy the whole process. When I am shooting, I am admiring the beauty and interacting with the scene. For me, a piece of art should create an emotion or memory. When others see my work, I want it to transport them to another place. It is all about enjoying our surroundings, and I hope that shows in my images!
To view Parker Cunningham’s portfolio, go to: http://parker-cunningham.artistwebsites.com/