Trent Parke Christmas Bucket

Review: Visual Arts / Photography

Trent Parke, The Christmas Tree Bucket, at the NGA

December 2013 — February 2014

The National Gallery of Australia has launched an exhibition of Trent Parke’s The Christmas Tree Bucket  in their dedicated photographic gallery.

This exhibition is for those of us who love a great photograph (or two), who love things quirky, who like to smile when looking at an exhibition, and maybe enjoy the occasional laugh out loud.

Yep, this work is full of niceties, little ironies, and of course, some great photography. Trent Parks has that fantastic eye for a photograph.

Trent’s photographs take you into his family circle to witness his twist on the things his extended family get up to around Christmas. It is a wonderful story in pictures, mostly factual, sometimes  a little fictional.

This is a particular humorous view of Christmas. So be warned, this is not your usual cleaned up normal Christmas photo album. There’s definitely something slightly dark about the way Trent Parke sees his world, and it is a lot of fun to be part of his imagination.

I am sure there will be a few who will not see the funny side and would prefer things to be ‘normal’ and jolly. The trouble is that for many people, what Trent presents here is probably normal.

This exhibition is to be seen in the flesh. And I am assured that no Santa Clause were harmed in making these photographs. Maybe?

There’s a link to the collection on exhibition — click here.

There’s a YouTube presentation from the exhibition of this work back in 2009 at the Centre for Photography in Sydney. Trent talks about the genesis of the concept and explains the title: The Christmas Tree Bucket


Magnum Photos has a listing of the photographs from this suite — click here. Not all the photographs on the Magnum page are in the NGA exhibition.

Here’s another site with plenty of images.

Please make sure you go and see the real things — it is worth the visit (and also see the Inca Gold — specially the fabrics).

Be warned, this is one of the many styles of photography I favour, hence my rating.

Recommended: Rating 10/10


Paul Costigan, 21 December 2013

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