Sukey Parnell's photography moves from the intimacy of her personal work centered around rites of passage within the family unit to familiar faces in showbiz, music and current affairs via personal projects on women in midlife and counter-culture partygoers. Her work has appeared in national publications such as The Independent on Sunday, the Radio Times and a cover and feature on Dame Joan Bakewell in Saga magazine. Private commissions include portrait images for comedian, Bill Bailey and a private book for Sir Bob Geldof to celebrate his 60th and daughter, Pixie's 21st birthdays.
She has won various awards including being twice a finalist in the prestigious Photographic Prize at the National Portrait Gallery. A picture of Bill Bailey was Photograph of the Month in 2010 and was exhibited in the Comedians: From the 1940s to Now exhibition. The image is now housed in the permanent collection along with an image of Dame Joan Bakewell.
Sukey is completing a PhD and is a visiting lecturer at Kings College in the Medical Humanities programme. She lives in London with her husband musician, Will Parnell and their two children, Lola and Xac.
‘Working primarily as a portraitist, Parnell turned to photography whilst navigating her entry into “midlife”, which was accompanied by the birth of her son and the death at home of her mother. Her work has sprung out of a desire to reveal the hidden psychic transitions that accompany female middle and older age and the attendant change in relation of the individual to their mortality and the gaze of society ... Individual narratives are transposed into an allegorical form ... evoking a sense of otherworldliness, the unseen behind the seen, the transcendent and symbolic within the everyday ... recurrent motifs - thresholds, mirrors, portals - hint at larger rites of passage within a personal encounter.’
Pete Smith, Senior Lecturer
University of West London
from catalogue notes 'Reflexions' exhibition
The Light Gallery, London, 2007