RVA Photogs: Jada & David Parrish

by | Mar 29, 2022 | PHOTO

Here at RVA Mag, we’ve always been captivated by the possibilities inherent in the photographic art form. And luckily for us, there are many amazing photographers all around us. They capture their own unique look at culture, music, art, and history, both here in Richmond and far beyond the city’s borders. Through their eye on the world, the photographers of RVA share emotions, tell stories, and capture moments in time. They amaze and inspire us.

This is the first of a series of posts that we’re calling RVA Photogs. In each post, we’ll highlight one of our favorite photographers from the region. We’ll learn what drives them, what they love, and what inspires them to create their art.

Jada & David Parrish

Jada & David Parrish are mixed media artists whose work explores the connection between painting, sculpture, motion, and photography. They use plywood and paint to construct sets that manipulate perspective and create optical illusions. They enjoy creating situations for their subjects that blur the line between reality and a dreamworld, while highlighting elements of the human experience.

How did photography become your choice of visual storytelling? 
We have both always been drawn to photography. It was a shared interest, but we both had very different strengths and skill sets within the field. David dynamically lights spaces and I (Jada) have a passion for directing and connecting with our models. When we combined our strengths into one, the work we made together was so much stronger either of us could do independently. 

How would you describe your photography and style to someone?  
Our photography is driven by our set design. We view ourselves as mixed media artists whose work explores the connection between painting, sculpture, motion, and photography. The images we create are filled with color and optical illusions. We enjoy creating situations for our subjects that blur the line between reality and dream world while highlighting elements of the human experience.

What is your process in creating an image that represents your style? 
It usually starts with the set. David designs a set and the shoot builds around that. Sometimes the set is inspired by a larger theme we want to convey in the shoot and others it is designed off of creative geometry. We choose colors, props, and wardrobe inspired by the mood of the shoot. David has a distinct lighting style that involves lots of diffused downlighting. I like to pose my subjects’ bodies to maximize angles and bends. Our images always have a somewhat quirky and surreal style to them.

What is your favorite photograph you have taken, and why?
It changes daily. One that stands out though is an orange diner set we built and then flipped upside down. The model is dressed as a waitress and appears to be waiting on a table that is stuck to the ceiling. I love the color contrast and surreal quality of this image. It really represents the work that we set out to create.

Why is photography important to you? 
It’s my form of self-expression. I am my best self when I am behind the camera. I can connect with so many people through photography.

What do you hope to achieve? 
We hope to get better every day. With every subject and every shoot we hope to improve and grow into the best artists we can be. 

What photographers influenced you, and who recently do you follow for inspiration? 
Rankin, David LaChapelle, Helmut Newton

Now for a loaded question — what makes for a successful photograph? 
One you can’t quite figure out right away. It should make you stop and think.

Find Jada & David Parrish online at jadaanddavid.com. Follow them on Instagram @jadaanddavid.

All Photos by Jada & David Parrish

John Reinhold

John Reinhold

John Reinhold is a CEO, shareholder, and President of Inkwell Ventures. Inkwell is the founding company of RVA Magazine, Inkwell also owns GayRva.com and RVA On Tap.

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