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Evan Parsons: Instagram and the Film Industry

Evan Parsons is probably not what you think of when imagining a young photographer. It’s likely you’re imagining someone who utilizes the newest apps with stylized filters to take photos of sensational current trending people and subjects; this is the very inverse of Evan’s work. His popularity on Instagram belies the preconception of what both photographer and fans pay attention to. The striking aspect of this Calgary born lensman’s creations is that his photos possesses an intangible depth of story that is rarely seen these days amidst the proliferation of images online. It’s likely that this is the result of his accidental mastery. Parsons concedes that in his frequent moments of unemployment during his earlier days, he traversed the city with his girlfriend’s Nikon and void of any goal other than investigating whatever captured his attention. Through this organic process, Evan cultivated an original style he honed during his days living and working in Vancouver. It wasn’t long before production companies from Hollywood began paying attention and requested Parsons to consider working in the film capitol of the world. He now finds himself in the enviable position of maintaining a career that vacillates between the world’s biggest and most popular photography/social media community and production companies. It’s an incredible outcome for a truly unplanned talent.

(Photo: Aisha Schliessler)

Parsons describes his hometown of Calgary as “Fargo, without the accents.” It’s an appropriate connection as the people and places featured in the photographers Instagram account have a decidedly different appearance. The aesthetic is subtle and lacks sensationalism yet, as you spend time with the images it’s easy to find yourself drawn in and imagining the story that led to this moment. Much like the movie and TV series Fargo, everyone seems to have a depth to them and an interesting tale to relate. The very DNA of this is found in Evan’s work and it’s led accomplished professionals from the world of film (Anthem of a Teenage Prophet starring Teen Choice Award winner Cameron Monaghan and Academy Award nominee Juliette Lewis) and music videos (Sam Fender’s “Play God” and “Barefoot in the Park” by James Blake featuring Rosalia) to procure his talents for their productions, in addition to a multitude of IG followers. For a self-proclaimed late-bloomer who didn’t pick up the camera until he was in his twenties, all of this admiration is even more impressive. Evan’s notoriety and success might not have been manifested without Instagram. Instagram has one billion monthly active users, seventy-one percent of whom are under the age of 35. It allows for talent like Parsons to reach anyone in any part of the world. The essential element in his case is “real” talent. He describes, “Instagram is an interesting place to explore and participate in as a photographer but artistically it can also be dangerous. There are so many trends that come and go, where you will see that all of a sudden everyone seems to be taking the same ‘type’ of art photo; a lot of it looks really good but there’s no story being told. You end up with a lot of pretty pictures but no real substance. This is the one thing that separates a nice-looking photo from a piece of art. Is there a story behind it? Does it have a point of view? It doesn’t have to hit the viewer over the head; it can be a story that only YOU know.”

Along with other influential IG photographers like Michael Yamashita, Dylan Furst, David Guttenfelder, and Chien-Chi Cheng, Evan Parsons is confirming that the IG platform is the home of this generation’s most remarkable talents. Being able to recognize an artist due to their own signature voice is what sets them apart from the cacophony online. Evan is accurately perceptive of the things that many of us may quickly overlook but which possess a strong character once you linger upon them. From a strip club sign in El Paso to a demolished house right outside 29 Palms in California to a Party Carousel store in Arizona, there’s always more than meets the eye when you know what you’re looking for. Parsons clarifies, “When I’m taking photos for my personal projects, like my series ‘State Lines’, I’m really trying to tell a story about the spaces that we create for ourselves and how funny and lonely they can be when looked at objectively. When these locations are documented and put side-by-side, like a roadside dinosaur statue next to a demolished house, or a strip club sign that loudly proclaims ‘WE ARE THE BEST!’ in crooked letters, it emphasizes the absurdity of it all.”

Evan Parsons is about to contribute his style and skill to Hollywood based Park Pictures as their lead photographer. It’s uncommon for the company to promote photographers in the same manner that they do their directors but this occurrence is simply another indicator of how esteemed this Canadian talent is regarded. His body of work and the evolution will no doubt lead numerous aspiring shutterbugs and professionals to follow.

Author: Patrick Wilson
Evan Parsons: Instagram and the Film Industry Reviewed by JaamZIN on 4:06:00 PM Rating: 5
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