Parker Day was born in San Jose, California in 1984. She studied photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California from 2002 until 2005. Day has exhibited in the US and abroad including solo shows at Superchief Gallery in both Los Angeles and New York, and Peyer Fine Art in Zurich, Switzerland. Group shows she’s participated in include the FRONT Triennial in Cleveland, Spring/Break Art Show in New York, and the Juxtapoz Clubhouse in Miami. Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Juxtapoz, Vice, i-D, Paper, and Dazed, among others. Not a Cult published her monograph ICONS, now in its second printing. Her next monograph, Possession, also published by Not a Cult, will be released in January, 2019. Parker Day lives and works in Los Angeles, California.


We’re all outsiders. At one time or another, we all feel outside of something else. My work deals with the universal state of being an outsider and the malleability of identity. We are filled with the potential for transformation and the power to shift how we see and how we’re seen.

I shoot studio portraits in crisp white strobe lighting on unretouched, color negative film. The fictionalized characters I photograph, often forged in a collaboration between myself and my subjects, represent the unknown wrapped in a blanket of familiarity. There are touchstones of nostalgia, such as in a fresh loaf of Wonderbread, a purple Goosebumps lunchbox, or a golden Farrah Fawcett flip, but the emotion the characters carry is often from a liminal state. Eyes may belie a smile, or the tension of a hand will contrast a slackened jaw. There is love, even reverence, in how I present my characters. I see them as icons for aspects of myself, from those that I wish to express to those that I’ve consciously repressed.

My work draws on a lineage of artists who celebrate outsiders; Diane Arbus chief among them.  My theatricality and character creation is often compared to Cindy Sherman’s, and my play between external self-presentation and internal emotional state references the work of Gillian Wearing. But it’s my youth spent in my dad’s comic book store that most greatly informs my character creation. Covers by R. Crumb and Charles Burns captured my young imagination. I never dared to read those forbidden adult comics; instead I’d invent stories in my head about the colorful characters I found on their covers. I see my portrait subjects in much the same way; filled with power and mystery.

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