Dusty Wooddell's picture

A personal project for my head. People of Parker.

Roughly around this time last year I began a personal project that I had to put a stop to after receiving several lucrative commercial contracts that took the majority of my personal shooting time away from me. Yay! Right?! The project I had halted was called "People of Parker", named after the small town/indian reservation I reside in/on. In the beginning, I had intended to only photograph business owners - and more specifically, business owners who maintained a brick and mortar business in the area for 10+ years. Looking back, I realize I could have photographed many more people in the time I was working on this project had I not set such restrictive guidelines.
January/February is historically a slow time of the year for my portrait photography business, and while commercial gigs help to pay the bills, I miss photographing people and the interaction I have with them when there's a camera between us. In light of that, I've decided to pick the project back up and focus on native Americans for the time being. I'm not going to set any sort of guidelines for the project other than my subjects must be people of Parker. I began yesterday by photographing three young men who are operating a frybread stand full time in the area. At the end of the visit with the three young men, I told one of the I'd let him know what I was going to do with and how I was going to share the project once I had a good idea about what I was going to do with it. His response could very well be responsible for this post. He responded by saying, " When you're from the streets you don't wait around for a good idea, you just roll with it." It was a solid reminder.

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6 Comments

Joseph Anthony's picture

Sounds like a great project. What about working to capture them "doing their thing"? You say they operate a Fry Bread stand. Being from the middle of the USA just outside a big city....I have no idea what that is. It would be great to get Environment Portraits of them along with the great ones you have here.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Thanks for that. I did capture some of them doing their thing, but I prefer the focus of the project be more on the people than their trade. I'm hoping that once there is a larger body of work to look at, it'll make more sense. Frybread has become a sort of native american tradition. It originated in this area from native americans using the government commodities they were given to create something a little more tasty. It could be compared to funnel cake

Steve August's picture

Great idea! I shoot a lot of offroad racing and have come out to Parker several times. I am from Flag.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Dee is a bit of an activist. We spoke briefly today about government shutdowns and how they've affected us both.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

"I am optimistic about the influence of the youth in America. From my perspective, this generation's youth is much more inclusive of people of different backgrounds, sexual orientation, culture, and race. I am hopeful that it will be the youth who strengthen the resistance against oppressive government policies."

Dusty Wooddell's picture

The culture here is strong. This is JaMahke. He and I discussed this project and my thoughts about photographing Native Americans as a white photographer.