David Dare Parker
I am a freelance photojournalist and editorial photographer. I have worked for many national and international magazines. Publications include LeMonde, Stern, Australian Geographic, The Bulletin, The New York Times and Time Magazine.
Projects include coverage of East Timor’s struggle to gain independence and Indonesia’s first steps towards democracy.
In January 2002 I was asked to co-ordinate a safety awareness course for Afghan Journalists in Peshawar, Pakistan for the International Federation of Journalists. During April and May of 2003 I was the Official War Photographer for the Australian War Memorial during Operation Falconer in the Middle East.
I am featured in the Australian War Memorial books Contact—Australian War Photographers, Curiosity—Stories of those who report during wartime and WAR: Degree South.
Recent work includes a project on Islamic faith healing in Indonesia and coverage of the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh.
In order to earn a living and help finance my personal projects, I also work as a film production stills photographer. Recent credits include Cloudstreet, Underbelly Razor, Brothers In Arms: Bikie Wars, Redfern Now, An Accidental Soldier, Love Child 2, Jasper Jones, Breath, Dirt Music and Whiteley among others.
I am one of the original co-founders of Reportage Photography Festival, was a Director of FotoFreo Photographic Festival and a Walkley Advisory Board Member. I am a member of the °SOUTH Photo Co-operative and the SMPSP: The Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers.
I am also a Nikon Ambassador. My first camera was a Nikon FM with a 50mm lens. I have been brand loyal ever since, although before digital I did supplement my Nikon film cameras with a Leica M4-P with 35mm summicron and a beautiful old Twin Lens Rolleiflex. Once the Nikon D3 arrived on the scene I stopped shooting film and became a total convert to digital. It has been all Nikon ever since.
I have a solid collection of Nikon bodies and Nikkor lenses, everything from a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 to a Nikkor 80-400mm f/5.6. My main kit consists of a Nikon D5, 2x Nikon D850’s and the new Nikon Z7. The Z7 is a game-changer for me due to its silent mode – no more sound blimps on a film set.
Related: Nikon D850 Review
I will soon be adding a Nikon Z6, with the new Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8. I occasionally shoot video, and the Z6 will most likely be my go-to camera for that. It is also said to be great in low light.
For my photojournalism/documentary work, less is often more. It really is great to have a choice of kit but often as not I just carry two bodies and two lenses. My most used lens is the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 – very sharp with a built in stabiliser.
On a second body I add one of three favourite fast primes – either a Nikkor 28mm f/1.4, Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 or a Nikkor 58mm f/1.4. All of which are pin sharp and, because of their size, discrete. Even though it’s great having the convenience of the zoom, there is something about the discipline of using a fast fixed prime that I still like.
In the field I prefer a more natural perspective – not too wide/distorted or too long/compressed. When it comes to my personal work I want people to feel as if they were standing next to me when they look at one of my photographs. Focal lengths between 28mm and 50mm work best for that.
When working on a film set I add a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 and a Nikkor 105mm f/1.4. The compression of the longer lenses is a tad more flattering for actors.
Light wise I use available lkgfor photojournalism/documentary work and whatever light is available to me when working on film sets.
I do own a few Nikon Speed lights and a set of studio lights. I bring them out if and when a commercial shoot requires it.
The search for the perfect bag has long been a bit of an obsession with me. These days I use a Think Tank roller if travelling by car, a Filson for flights and either one of the smaller F-Stop Backpacks or a First Spear day pack when out in the field. I also carry a small first aid kit and a water filtration bottle when away.
🎒 Related: In-depth Camera Backpack Buyers Guide
The rest of my kit consists of an out of date Mac Desktop and a relatively recent 13” MacBook Pro. I use 64 – 128 GB cards, CF for the D5 and XQD (love those) and SD for the D850’s and Z7.
For data storage and archiving back at base, I have just started using a Synology NAS system with WD Red internal drives. For travel, USB-C and USB-3 drives – whatever is available. Notebooks, pens, a Zoom audio recorder and a couple of Rode mics pretty much complete my kit.
When working domestically, travelling by car, I often take more than I need. When working overseas I try to pack light and only carry exactly what I think it is I need. Weight restrictions are a real issue and I like to keep my kit with me when flying. That pretty much covers it.