Spotlight On: Colette Parker, Photographer
Finding therapy within the arts, Colette uses photography as a creative outlet to balance out a technical job as an ICU nurse.
Sharing the human experience can be humbling, and through Colette’s work, you are able to explore the stories of others through photos. She’s most interested in people; who they are, their mannerisms, what makes them tick. Her purpose as an artist is to use photography to bring us all together. Everyone’s story is unique, and Colette wants to draw attention to them. “Everyone has a story. I just try and capture it through photos.”
By day, Colette is an ICU nurse, using art in her free time as therapy for herself. During a recent shoot with a breast cancer survivor, her subject didn’t want her scars photoshopped out, but wanted to embrace them as part of who she is now. Colette was content to leave her with an intangible image of herself at her most confident, and a reminder for when times aren’t so good. Her beauty and fearlessness also showed Colette how her art has the power to transform the lives of her subjects. “That meant everything to me. That’s what makes it all worth it. Showing someone a side of themselves that they might not see.”
Native to the city, representing Garfield Park by way of Beverly, her favorite part of Chicago’s creative community is that everyone seems to be connected in some way. “There is a sense of support and encouragement around here that I think really facilitates creativity, but also gives people the confidence they need to keep making art and putting themselves out there.”
When taking her first photography classes years ago, her confidence was shaken a few times which discouraged her pursuit. Now as part of the artistic scene, the ongoing encouragement and support from peers gives her a boost of confidence and allows for a safe space to continue learning and creating. Her long-term goal as an artist is to keep shooting, improving, and connecting to as many people as possible. “I just want to make beautiful things and tell people’s stories. Wherever that takes me.”
Follow Colette on Instagram to keep up with her recent work.
Get to know Colette below and check out her custom playlist on Spotify!
Favorite TV show? I haven’t had cable in years, I’m a Netflix only gal, but I love Black Mirror and Stranger Things. And American Horror Story! (There seems to be a theme here...)
Favorite cocktail? Depends on my mood! If I’m feeling bougie, I want a Ketel martini, dirty. But my go-to drink is a vodka soda with lemon.
Favorite Chicago artist? Does Alkaline Trio count? I mean they are from Chicago! I mean, there are so many talented people from Chicago, it’s hard to choose. I have a lot of amazingly talented friends, and photography has allowed me to meet so many new talented people, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
Favorite spot in Chicago? Hmm, this is a hard one! For bars, I love Lone Wolf in the West Loop. I love so many coffee shops, to sit with headphones in and edit photos, but especially Heritage and Gaslight. And I eat at the Chicago Diner way too often. (Those vegan milkshakes tho).
"Spotlight On" is a weekly series highlighting Chicago creatives with a twist. We share a slice of their stories and what they love, hoping to inspire and connect.
Words by Jasmine Muldrow