Bec Parsons. We think she’s drawn to free spirits. We’ve seen her capture the raw youthful untainted energy vibrating off models as long as we’ve known her. It’s about a real connection through a series of casual moments. It’s a style. Her style. And now, for her first book, she’ll publish this series of film photographs she took of a young Julia Nobis just being Julia on Coney Island. A series of everyday moments she captured, doing what she does so well, finding the magic in the seemingly mundane. The book is called ‘Coney Island’. Its sole subject is Julia Nobis. Just Julia.
When did you first meet Julia?
“I can’t remember specifically the date, but I was one of the first photographers to work with Julia, and perhaps on her first editorial too. Her agent Doll Wright, who is also a close friend was like, ‘You have to meet Julia’, and we quickly shot her. I knew instantly she was a star. I remember my husband and Julia talking in the garden at home for ages, and he gave her this huge exotic plant in a plastic container, then she carried it home on the bus. I’ll never forget that.”
What is it you love about her and these images that made you save them for a book?
“She is ageless, and ethereal. Honest and unaffected. Sometimes you just connect and the pictures you make together go beyond creating fashion images. Ultimately I just love making pictures, and Julia gave me her time to make it special. Travelling on the subway to Coney Island, on a cold September morning, when no ones around, loading my camera with film and running around taking pictures. I had to honour that time we spent together with something permanent. It’s a little time capsule.”
Why did you decide to name it Coney Island and not Julia?
“I originally I wanted to call it “Since Always” which is a little personal saying I have with those close to me. ‘Coney Island’ though became the title, it creates another narrative with the viewer, and conjures up a lot of different feelings for people.”
What memories do you have from this shoot?
“How cold it was, how beautiful the light was. How patient Julia was while I loaded my camera. This was before film cameras became popular again, so to a lot of people it was a real novelty. Strangers would walk past and comment about that.”
How has Julia grown and changed in front of the camera since this shoot?
“Julia will always be Julia, she’s intelligent and floats above everything.”
Has your style changed since you shot this five years ago?
“If anything this is my true self. I shot a lot of pictures of Julia. Sometimes those images were heavily criticised. I remember the negativity, because I didn’t use hair or makeup, because I shot film, because I would not allow retouching, some fashion directors thought I was too raw. The photographers they loved were just xerox’s of Steven Meisel, and technically they were just good commercial copycats. I like chance and mistakes, and to me photography is still a magical process. We need to be more honest though in how we represent people, lets show women for what they are, embrace them and celebrate them, and some people are afraid to be that progressive. It takes time for the fashion zeitgeist to catch up. Now all my former assistants, who are represented and out shooting like me, think it’s normal. It’s almost acceptable now, but being a woman and shooting like that ten years ago was a real struggle.”
What have you learnt from the process of creating and producing your first book?
“You surround yourself with good people and great things happen. Perimeter Editions and Narelle Brewer are visionary, and their guidance has been very important. Everything is calculated, even when it’s not obvious. But anyone can make a book, and I encourage and applaud anyone that does, because it’s risky and it’s hard. Books are the ultimate platform though. Thats what I cherish, you want to create memories and keep them in your heart, and photobooks are like these little hearts you keep safe and open and they make your dream.”