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Life & Work with Bréana Parks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bréana Parks.

Hi Bréana, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, where I grew up in a multicultural area raised by my Filipino mother and Black father. Growing up, I always wanted to do something creative, whether writing, photography, graphic design or making mini-films with my cousins. So when I was about 14 when my niece was first born, I saw my cousin’s DSLR which made me attracted to take photographs of people. From that moment I saw a DSLR, every time I went to a family gathering I wanted to use her camera to shoot candid moments essentially freeze time, eventually I got my own camera in 2013 where I was known for shooting photos for families and sporting events. Mind you never thought I’d be a photographer, even in college I majored in visual arts media with photography as my emphasis but was more drown to sports broadcasting. Fast forward to now, I’m a photographer, teacher, and a producer. I work in all aspects that help the community and allow me to share stories that would otherwise get overlooked.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t think it’s been a smooth road per say. But I think it’s a road I’m still on, and so far there’s no endpoint for now—just enjoying the ride. The struggles along the way have probably been the lack of network or the fear of not being good enough as the other photographers around me. Although this year, I’ve learned a lot, like to how to control that fear which allowed so many opportunities I didn’t think would happen to come my way especially in a time where things didn’t seem possible considering the pandemic.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a photographer who does portraits, conceptual work that talks about social issues, people and identity. I’m probably known for my project Waves I put out this year as well as my short film college called 1in3 that talked about how Black men are portrayed in the media. I’m most proud of my work this year waves since it was my first project since graduating. But I’m also proud of my work being in the San Diego tribune showcasing Filipino chefs for the San Diego Asian film festival back in 2018 and for my work with Represent collaborative. I think what’s sets me apart is that I like being able to tell stories in my life and community that are unique. That I use my art as a teachable thing for people to learn from besides admire.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
That’s a good question, well nowadays most people think they’re a photographer so probably an influx of images as we do now. I think with kids being into disposable cameras and film cameras that will make a comeback for the industry. Photography will probably be more about our experiences versus conceptual pieces. Oh and bleaching prints I keep seeing teenagers manipulate their prints after developing so we might have trippy experimentation.

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