Parker James Reinecker – Two Cardinals In The Thicket
Parker James Reinecker is a visual artist, photographer and educator based in Central North Carolina and Atlanta Georgia. He is currently working in the Central Piedmont Region of North Carolina. Using various themes and contemporary iconography, Parker’s images and series develop metaphorical narratives through a candid setting, while keeping a focus on human ecology and identity of landscape– physical and social.
Two Cardinals in the Thicket is a two-part photographic series exploring themes of human ecology, navigation, and how a landscape shapes its own identity. Part I, titled after the project, puts a focus on a lowbrow catalog of a location, like the way one might explore what flora and fauna are in a backyard, investigating our private spaces. The images, taken throughout the Yadkin Pee-Dee River Basin in the Central Piedmont Region of North Carolina, act as a survey of this contemporary landscape.
From the days of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and a sharp class and community divide that exists today– how can the echo of heavy history be conceptually embedded into the land? Influenced by Szarkowski’s ideas of Mirrors and Windows, the images seek to bind documents and poetics, candid and intentional, aggression and subtlety, isolation and connection. The state bird of North Carolina, the Northern Cardinal– symbolic of relationships and lost loved ones…two cardinals, together in the thick of things.
PART 1 – Two Cardinals in the Thicket
In Pt. 1, titled after the project, breaks away from a defining a sense of place. Screen-captures of satellite imagery are digitally altered, removing the names of towns and highway markers to define this “social-landscape” of class in the rural south by shifting the focus on the dollar stores and their descriptions. Being some of the most populous retail locations in the country, these images aim to place the viewer in a position to navigate this landscape without the necessary resources. Although very different, the “maps” share common features with the “features of the land” working with the photos of river reflections and rockfaces. The rock surfaces touch on the idea of defining an identity through the characteristics of “place” and the natural erosion and changing of space, forming a conceptual relationship with the way the dollar stores change the landscape.
The down-market graffiti and Aborglyphs (markings on trees) relate to this instinctual need to make a mark of significance and permanence. Black and white images, shot on 135 film, layered into landscapes become a small piece to a puzzle and stand for a vague understanding of one’s confinement to a location. The closer interactions with a human element become a moment of intimacy for the viewer. Separating the subject from the background these images work to isolate the subject from their “environment” of the everyday with the use of the flash. Although harsh or disengaged, these interactions act as a pause and share a relationship with the photographic studies of flora. This contrast between the flowers and the more confrontational images of people become a conceptual and intimate investigation of personal relationships.
PART 2 – Desegration
Furthering the theme of the “navigation of space” there is a use of found objects in Pt. 2, titled Desegregation, using appropriated yearbook photos dated to the 1950s, from segregated schools in the Yadkin Basin. Images are collaged together to build narratives, combining these two historically racially divided spaces to desegregate the space.
Photographs by unknown yearbook staff place the viewer in the point of navigating designated “white” and “Black” spaces of this region and focus on the awkward nuances of these respective spaces. With this recontextualization and emphasis of visual literacy, the hope is to challenge viewers and equally as important, challenge myself to develop conclusions about how the more contemporary theme of racial and class segregation continues to exist, is systemically reinforced and taught today.