Prince shooting hoops, renting out movie theaters at 4 a.m. and lounging around Paisley Park are all moments Baltimore photographer Steve Parke has captured in his latest book, “Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait.”
The 53-year-old Canton resident, who was Prince’s art director for over a decade, has compiled a book of rare photos he took of Prince while working for the late musician. At least half of the photos have never been published, Parke said.
The book will be released in the United Kingdom on April 6, and Parke expects it to be available in the U.S. around the same date.
The hardcover book will include photos of Prince doing everyday activities along with 50 vignettes by Parke describing the moments he shared with the musician between 1988 and 2001. Sheila E., Prince’s former fiancee and drummer, wrote the foreword.
“It has a very off-the-cuff feel and a down-to-earth feel and less of a setup, because, in fact, that’s what we did. It wasn’t very planned,” Parke said of the featured photos.
He photographed Prince with early digital camera equipment, which allowed him to take photos on the run without much preparation.
“Part of it is just getting at the core of him as a person," Parke said. "Sometimes you don’t get that feel because when they’re a public personality, what they’re like from a day-to-day [perspective] is very different."
Parke was inspired to compile his archived photos of Prince after the "Purple Rain" singer's unexpected death in April. Parke posted some photos on Facebook after the news broke, and said he got a great response.
He has since spent the past few months sifting through around 550 images of Prince, narrowing down and editing the selection for the book. The book is nearly finished, he said.
“The good thing about the images is everything I have is stuff that Prince was OK with. He and I would go through them and choose ones to keep and which ones to get rid of,” Parke said.
The photos were shot with older equipment, which was “not in all honesty the best stuff,"* Parke said. But he's spent time editing and enhancing some photos, putting others in black and white.
Parke's book, published by U.K.-based Cassell, is already up for presale on Amazon UK and was listed as the No. 18 most popular book in the Arts, Architecture and Photography category as of Monday afternoon.
*Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that the equipment Steve Parke used to shoot Prince was not "the best stuff." The Sun regrets the error.