Hostel, Jericho, Vancouver, 1985

Wow! Where did that year go? Here we are again with the Winter Solstice and the Christmas season just days away. I recently put up the lights, and, with more space in the new digs, we’re considering a real tree this year.


Three prints of Hostel, Jericho, Vancouver, 1985 (see above, but note that there’s no watermark on prints) are up for grabs: 1 limited-edition 7×7 print, 1 limited edition 11×11 print, and 1 limited edition 15×15 print, all printed on 100% rag paper signed and embossed by the photographer. A greeting card will also be awarded. Here’s a direct link to the print-for-sale at the sales gallery. There you can see sizes, prices, and an enlargeable image — which still doesn’t give a true sense of the beauty of an original print.


Deadline for submissions is midnight, December 20, 2016. A random draw will occur on the 21st (Winter Solstice). See last year’s draw.

Winners will be contacted by return email for a shipping address and we’ll ship promptly. (Raymond Parker Photography cannot guarantee date of delivery. Prints will be shipped via Canada Post surface mail). Please reply promptly. Unclaimed prizes will go to the next draw in line.


I live in Canada. See below for eligible entries.


If you’re on our mailing list, bonus, you’re automatically entered into the contest. You don’t have to do anything more. But you could still share this with friends who aren’t on the list. If you’re not, and you’d like a chance to win a print, simply join our list. Here’s how:  Go to the shop. Scroll down to the footer and sign up for the newsletter (your email address will never be published) and complete the sign-up process. Alternately, you can click the popup bar at the top of a page (bottom on mobile) and join there. Of course, then you’ll be first to know about future deals and contests!


The draw is open to entrants from Canada, US, and UK. Entrants from outside Canada are responsible for any customs, import duties, brokerage fees, and taxes incurred. Sorry next-of-kin, you don’t qualify. All other submissions go in the hat.

Merry Christmas and good luck!

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Tomes of beauty

If a picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words, then the one above should already tip you off to where I’m going with this post. But don’t leave just yet. First, let me tell you about some of the books pictured above.

I have collected photography books for nearly four decades — at least when I could afford them. And so I have a pretty decent library of all things photographic, covering everything from the arcane technical details of Ansel Adams’ Zone System, Y.O.B exposure procedures, archival printing and preservation, print restoration, to the kind of coffee table picture books piled high in the leading illustration.

This pile grew a lot higher, last week, when a dear old friend dropped by to donate his extraordinary collection to my already overflowing bookshelves. So much for the purge I’d attempted before my recent move! But I was very happy to accept this wonderful gift. Coming from the man who gave me my first “real” gallery show (in Vancouver, in 1984) it was especially meaningful.

Those decades ago, Gerry Duncan and I were both singularly obsessed with the art of photography, and its most influential practitioners. We ate up any source of news and information — magazines, journals and books —that might illuminate the lives and work of our favourite luminaries.

Gerry ran a specialty black and white lab, with an upstairs gallery, on Vancouver’s West 4th Avenue. I produced advertising photography from a small studio, not far away. Between busy schedules, Gerry and I would wander around the city with our Mamiya medium format cameras, inspired by the master documentary photographers we so admired.

Recommended photography books (A short list)

André Kertész: A Lifetime of Perception, Key Porter Books, 1982 | Ansel Adams, Barry Pritzker, Crescent Books, 1991 | Bernice Abbott American Photographer, Hank O’Neil, McGraw-Hill, 1982 | Brassaï: The Secret Paris of the 30’s, Richard Miller (translator), Pantheon, 1976 | Canadian Photography 1839-1920, Ralph Greenhill/Andrew Birell, Coach House Press, 1979 | Dorothea Lange: Photographs of a Lifetime, Aperture, 1982 | Faces of Canada, J. Marc Coté Pouliot, Urban Photographic Projects, Inc., 1992 | Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination, Penny Cousineau-Levine, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004 | Immediate Family: Sally Man, Aperture, 1992 | In the American West, Richard Avedon, Abrams, 1985 | L’Amour Fou: Photography & Surrealism, Krauss/Livingston, Cross River Press, 1985 | Joel-Peter Witkin: A Retrospective, Germano Celant, Scalo, 1995 | Julia Margaret Cameron: Her Life and Photographic Work, Helmut Gernsheim, Aperture, 1975 | On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography, National Gallery of Art, 1989 | Paris Mon Amour, Jean Claude Gautrand, Taschen, 2004 | The Daybooks of Edward Weston/Edward Weston: Fifty Years, Aperture, 1973 | Worlds in a Small Room, Irving Penn, Grossman/Penguin, 1974 | Steichen: The Master Prints 1895-1914, The Symbolist Period, The Museum of Modern Art, 1978

A screen is just a screen

The Internet has opened up the world of photography as much any other interest. We can view the work of our peers and our heroes like never before. This is a good thing.

But, even though Instagram and Facebook have become the default way to share photos socially, and digital photography the number one method of reproduction, looking at photographs on a computer screen can never, in my opinion, compete with making and viewing photographic prints.

There is a whole other discussion on the “best” venue for photographs, which I’ve covered elsewhere, so I will confine this essay to the assertion that, to my mind, the photographic print is the ultimate expression of the photographic process, and a neglected objective today.

That is a long way (not quite a thousand words) to say that poring over the works of great photographers in quality, well-printed books is a great way to inspire your creativity. I encourage you to visit the library, or, if you can afford it, a good bookshop. In my experience, used book stores can be a gold mine … which is where my recent windfall would have ended up, had I refused Gerry’s generosity.

Sharon & Renée, (Jacques-Henri Lartigue show) 1985

Sharon & Renée, (Jacques-Henri Lartigue show) 1985

The proof is in the print

But nothing can compare with an original print.

If you are lucky enough to have access to a gallery showing fine art photography, do not miss a chance to see what a good print looks like. My first “master classes” in printmaking came from simply standing in awe before the works of such artists as Manuel Alvares Bravo, Ansel Adams, and Imogen Cunningham. I learned more examining such works than a million words could have ever conveyed.

Then it was back to the technical manuals, to develop the skills required to realize something approaching the virtuosity I had seen … and, most importantly, to develop my own personal vision.

The following list is by no means conclusive, when it comes to icons of photography. But it does contain, unarguably, some of the most groundbreaking practitioners of this relatively young craft. Certainly, I have benefitted greatly, if only in my appreciation for the craft, from studying their works. Google them.

Do you have a favourite photographer? Let us know in the comments below.


Berenice Abbot | Ansel Adams | Robert Adams | Diane Arbus | Eugène Atget | Richard Avedon | David Bailey | Hippolyte Bayard | Bill Brandt | Brassaï  | Wynn Bullock | Julia Margaret Cameron | Édouard Boubat | Henri Cartier-Bresson | Lucien Clergue | Chuck Close | Alvin Langdon Coburn | Imogen Cunningham | Louis Daguerre | Robert Doisneau | Brian Duffy | Elliott Erwitt | Walker Evans | Andreas Feininger | Robert Frank | Lee Friedlander | Lewis Hine | Horst P. Horst | William Henry Jackson | Dorothea Lange | Yousuf Karsh | André Kertész | Jacques-Henri Lartigue | Danny Lyon | Robert Mapplethorpe | Dora Maar | Lee Miller | Duane Michaels | Lázlö Maholy Nagy | Beaumont Newhall | Tod Papageorge | Irving Penn | Gilles Peress | Eliot Porter | Nina Raginsky | Man Ray | Bettina Rheims | Marc Ribaud | Willy Ronis | August Sander | W. Eugene Smith | Edward Steichen | Alfred Stieglitz | Paul Strand | William Henry Fox Talbot | Roman Vishniac | Weegee | Edward Weston | Minor White | Garry Winogrand

Follow your own vision

Of course, studying alone will not advance your own portfolio. Reading books or awaiting the mercy of the muse is no substitute for picking up the camera and searching out your own magic moment through the lens.

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shopping cartWe’ve just launched a new shopping experience on Raymond Parker Photo. We’re confident that collectors looking to invest in fine art photographs from our portfolios will find the new platform much easier to navigate and check out.

As noted on the FAQ page, our new shopping cart runs on the Shopify platform, the leader in online shopping technology.

Not that our old (PayPal) store checkout wasn’t secure, but you’ll notice when you click through to the shop (see “Shop” in the navigation bar above), the URL in the address field is preceded by “https” and a padlock symbol, rather than “http.” This means that all pages are encrypted with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to protect private information.

We now offer a credit card checkout as well as PayPal. Other payment options are available, as per the FAQ. As usual, any image that you’re interested in, that you don’t see in the store, is available by request. Just contact us and we’ll be happy to add it.

That said, new images are being added daily, including new greeting cards. A new group of “seasonal” cards are under development with the first winter scenes added this week. Save money with a group of six cards of your choice.

We hope you enjoy checking out the shiny new store. We welcome any suggestions or questions. Just leave us a note in the comments below. Want to keep up on what’s new? Please sign up for our newsletter in the right footer area of the shop.

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Dining Studio

As we all can recognize, product photography (“merch” photos, in trade lingo) is a mainstay of the advertising business. I made my living for many years putting consumer products in their best light — adventure gear and clothing for Mountain Equipment Co-op, toasters for Sears, lingerie for Eaton’s, tractors and snowblowers for Canadian Tire — but that job hasn’t been a central part of my repertoire for several years … unless you count illustrations for my websites.

And that’s exactly the task I’ve set myself in recent days. With a new, improved shop on the horizon (you can’t see it all at the moment, but you can now open! Stop by and sign up for news and/or spread the word on social media) I set up a makeshift studio in the dining room, seeing as the studio space is still jammed with unorganized and unopened boxes from the recent move.

Reflected Light

Reflected Light

The dining table became the base for tabletop shots of my greeting card inventory. The setup is nothing fancy. I used white seamless, supported by a Savage “Port-A-Stand”. The rear light, bounced back onto the seamless by a 32-inch Photoflex Multidisk reflector (white side), is a vintage 500w/s Elinchrom monobloc studio strobe, fitted with an empty grid holder, at ¼-power. Main light is a 250 w/s Elinchrom, also set to ¼-power, with a 12˝x16˝ Chimera “Mini” box. Small reflectors — one silver, one white — fill in shadows and light falloff on the front.

Studio camera is a Nikon D-800, with the 70-200 f2.8, supported on a Gitzo tripod with FLM 38-FT “Centerball” head. Metering is accomplished with a Sekonik Flashmate L-308-B, as seen above. Again, nothing special. Exposure was 1/160-sec @ f.16.

Now I have to edit the results to approximate colours and tone and clean up the background. There will be layers.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stop back to check out the new shop. As I say, I’ve been beavering away in the background here, since I returned from my excellent English adventure.

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Raymond Parker Photo
230 Menzies Street,
PO Box 39029,
Victoria, BC,
Canada V8V 2G7

PH: (250) 896-7623

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