Photographer spotlight: An Interview With Jada & David

Photographer spotlight: An Interview With Jada & David

10th November 2022

Earlier this year, we launched the inaugural Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards, the first ever awards to celebrate the art of music photography and the talent behind the lens.

The competition ran across a series of distinct categories, with winners selected by a panel of photographers, music artists and creatives. The awards recognised 2021’s most unforgettable, unique and unsung music moments and the varied and talented photographers who captured them.

Shortlisted emerging & professional photographers were unveiled and celebrated at an exclusive awards ceremony, hosted here at Abbey Road.

We recently started profiling some of the talented photographers who participated and had their work shortlisted by our judges, including Rankin, Shygirl, Jill Furmanovsky, Moses Sumney, Sacha Lecca, Dana Scruggs and Simon Wheatley.

You can read some of the previous pieces in the series below:

- Anthony Harrison

- AboveGround

- Chris Suspect (winner of the Zeitgeist Award)

- John Lyons (winner of the Live Music Photography Award)

- DeShaun Craddock

- Riccardo Piccirillo

- Neelam Khan Vela

- Hana Kovacs

- Jason Sheldon (Junction10)

- Nat Michele

- Joe Puxley (winner of the Undiscovered Award)

- Thomas Weidenhaupt

- Megan Doherty

This week we spoke to husband and wife portrait photographers, Jada and David, who were runners up for the Undiscovered Photographer Award , aimed at identifying and recognising the emerging, unsung talent that exists in music photography. We wanted to provide a platform for the best upcoming photographers of all backgrounds forging a path in music photography.

Check back every Thursday as we continue to profile some of the talented photographers who participated.

Shortlisted Photo

Isabella VanKesteren by Jada & David


Photographer Spotlight: Jada & David

Jada & David Parrish are mixed media artists whose work explores the connection between painting, sculpture, motion, and photography. They use plywood and paint to construct sets that manipulate perspective and create optical illusions. They enjoy creating situations for their subjects that blur the line between reality and dream world while highlighting elements of the human experience.

We recently spoke to them about their 100 sets project, creating surreal worlds to photograph in, advice for budding photographers and more.

How did you fall into music photography specifically?

In 2021, we started a year-long project of building 100 sets and photographing 100 shoots. As the project progressed, we found that musicians became our prominent subject matter.

It helped us discover our overall goal and the direction of our work. We found a passion for creating portraits and cover art for musical artists.

And was there a particular image or body of work that was a major inspiration when starting out?

Rankin and David LaChapelle are two of our biggest influences. We love the unique approach they both take. They’re able to show recognizable faces in a way you’ve never seen before.

What makes a good subject in music photography and what makes a good music photographer?

The best subjects are the ones who don’t hold back. They put it all out there, are uniquely themselves, and really let their personalities shine.

A good music photographer is someone who can find the nuances in that. They can take someone who is so iconic and show them in a new light.

What advice would you give to someone getting started?

Shoot as much as possible. Put your work out there. Be loud. Make friends.

How does your approach differ when working with upcoming talent versus established artists?

Our approach is the same no matter who we are photographing. We build sets and create surreal worlds to photograph in. My job as the photographer is to confidently direct my subject and draw out authentic emotion to create a dynamic photograph. To me, it doesn’t matter who they are.

Do you think there's a genre of music that naturally lends itself to powerful portrait photography?

I think any genre of music can lend itself to powerful portrait photography. It’s all about authenticity and the connection to the artist. When an artist is being raw and making themselves vulnerable, it allows for some really powerful portraits to be made.
Photo by Jada & David
Photo by Jada & David
Photo by Jada & David

How does the photographic process differ between working with introverts and extroverts?

For us, it’s very similar regardless. Often the people who are the most introverted can really come to life in front of the camera.

Have you ever been starstruck when photographing someone? How do you overcome that?

Yes, definitely. We recite positive affirmations to ourselves to amp us up and reaffirm that we are capable of creating something no one else can, and there is a reason they are coming to us.

The best thing we can do is trust our gut and be uniquely ourselves while photographing.

How has social media shaped music photography, both as a craft more generally, as well as your personal work?

It has opened so many doors for us. We have made some really amazing connections with people who have helped shape our career that we never would have made without it.

Social media does demand that artists put a great deal of focus on it. These days having a strong social presence is pretty crucial.

Who is someone, alive or dead, you'd love to photograph?

Machine Gun Kelly hands down. His passion, energy, and aesthetic really inspire us. I think we could create something really wild together.

In one word, how would you describe your photography?


How did it feel to be nominated for the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2022?

It was such an honor. It gave us a sense of validation because it was the first major recognition our work had received. We were humbled by the calibre of artists who had been nominated.

Being able to attend and experience the event at Abbey Road Studios was such a surreal experience that we will treasure forever.

Why do you think it is important to create a platform like the MPAs to showcase music photography?

It helps bring music photography into the spotlight and shines a light on some of the truly amazing talent out there. The MPAs really highlight the art that is music photography and gives upcoming artists a platform to shine.

Have there been any benefits to you since being nominated?

It was a major confidence boost and has pushed us to put our work out there more.

What have you been doing since the awards? And what do you hope is next?

We have been working on personal projects and trying to push our creative boundaries. We are also working on putting together our first photography book that includes some of our nominated images.

We have a list of dream artists we would like to work with. Our hope is
to connect and work with as many of them as possible.
Don't forget to head to the official MPAs website to get a comprehensive overview of all the participants, nominations and winners. Also, follow us on Instagram at @abbeyroadmpa for more MPAs related content.

To keep up with Jada & David, follow them on Instagram at @jadaanddavid and their website.

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