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Former Art Director for Prince to Share Photos, Stories of Late Musician

by on November 16, 2017 12:36 PM

Photographer Steve Parke worked closely with Prince as the legendary musician's art director throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. During that time, he captured photos that offered a unique glimpse into Prince's life.

At 3 p.m. on Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 365 Benner Pike, Parke will share some of those photos and the stories behind them at a presentation and signing of his recently-released book, "Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait."

After Prince's death in 2016 from an accidental drug overdose, Parke began sharing some of his photos and memories on Facebook, and the grateful response from fans led to the book, a collection of more than 100 rarely-seen photos and stories, with a forward by Prince's longtime collaborator Sheila E.

Parke, now a Baltimore-based photographer, just finished a book tour that took him to New York City, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and London. State College wasn't exactly a logical next stop, and that's where Carolyn Turgeon comes in.

The State College native and author has been working with Parke for the past two and a half years since she moved to Baltimore, where she edits and co-owns Faerie Magazine, a print magazine "that celebrates all things enchanted" and features photography and original fiction. Turgeon helped formulate "Picturing Prince" and Parke helped with Turgeon's own new book "The Faerie Handbook" which was published this week by HarperCollins.

"State College wouldn’t really be next on that itinerary except that I very much wanted my parents (who live in State College) and their friends to hear Steve’s charming and hilarious stories and see this great slideshow he gives," Turgeon said. "And 'The Faerie Handbook' was coming out November 14, so we scheduled this joint event with our two purple books. I am very grateful that he agreed and can’t wait for my parents to see!"

Prince, photographed by Steve Parke.

Parke has photographed multiple covers and features for Turgeon's magazine and shot some of the dozens of images, and checked quality of others, for the new book.

"I can’t even imagine how I could have pulled that off without him," Turgeon said.

When she moved to Baltimore, Turgeon began working with Parke almost immediately, but didn't know at first about his time working with Prince.

"I came to learn that Steve had spent many years working as Prince’s art director at Paisley Park [Prince's estate and studios] and had stunning photos of Prince he’d shot in the 90s and early 2000s, but this wasn’t something he talked about much," Turgeon said. "After Prince died and he shared some photos and memories on Facebook, though, I saw how hungrily and gratefully people responded to them."

On Saturday at Barnes & Noble, Parke will present a slideshow of photos from "Picturing Prince" and tell the stories behind them. 

"He worked side by side with Prince for 14 years, often over the course of long nights where the building was empty except for Steve and Prince and maybe a sound engineer, and so he has some great stories of what Prince was really like," Turgeon said.

And while the event will be focused on Prince, some images from "The Faerie Handbook" will be shared as well.

The book is a compendium featuring modern fairy tale photography, Victorian fairy paintings, a list of fairy flowers, a tutorial for making fairy furniture, a discussion of fairy-esque haute couture, an essay on "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and more.

It's elaborately designed, as well, with silver foil, silver edges and a purple satin bookmark.

"It’s all pretty whimsical yet sophisticated," Turgeon said. "The idea is that you can open it to any page and find something wonderful to sink into."

The Faerie Handbook, by Carolyn Turgeon and the editors of Faerie Magazine, was published by HarperCollins on Nov. 14. Image provided.

Turgeon has written five novels and one of those "Mermaid," took her to the Maryland Fairy festival, where she met Faerie Magazine founder Kim Cross. They worked together on a mermaid-themed issue that was published in 2013.

"I really enjoyed doing a magazine and stayed on as editor-in-chief, then moved to Baltimore in 2015 to be more involved," Turgeon said.

For Saturday's event, Turgeon said that "the main event is definitely Prince," and she hopes the local community will stop by and check out both purple books.

"I hope people will come to see Steve’s talk and that you’ll all trust me that you won’t be bored," she said. "You might even fall in love with Prince, even if you weren’t a big fan before."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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