*As Prince’s art director for over a decade, Baltimore photographer Steve Parke has tons of photographs of the late artist that have never seen the light of day … until now.
Prince playing basketball, renting out movie theaters at 4 a.m. and in a swimming pool are all moments captured by Parke and included in his forthcoming book, “Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait.”
At least half of the photos have never been published, the 53-year-old Canton, Md., resident told the The Baltimore Sun. The hardcover will include pics of the Purple One doing everyday activities along with 50 vignettes by Parke describing the moments he shared with the musician between 1988 and 2001.
“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 said he used early digital camera equipment to photograph Prince, which allowed him to take photos on the fly without much preparation.
“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.
Parke said he was inspired to compile his archived photos of Prince after the singer’s sudden death in April. He 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 the artist, 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.”
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.
Sheila E., Prince’s former fiancée and drummer, wrote the foreword for Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait, published by U.K.-based Cassell. The book 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.
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.