I am Jay Parker, a creative director and image maker of Jamaican-British heritage who specialises in styling, art direction and photography. My interest in heritage and discovering what makes us who we are is a core theme throughout most of my work. Whilst studying at UWE, I received three LGFW nominations as well as a place on the Deans list 2021.
During my time studying I noticed a lack of representation in the industry in both casting and creative roles. This made me ensure that any work I participated in after this championed the marginalised and the under represented. My work primarily explores themes of identity, heritage and community and has been heavily influenced by my own culture and the experiences of others, which has enabled me to create work that many both inside and outside of my community can resonate with.
My idea for this project began around a year prior to its conception. I had focused a lot of my work on the values of representation and identity and knew that I wanted to focus on a particular element of black culture that I felt particularly strong about. Having experienced hair discrimination in the past, as well as having to go through struggles with my own hair journey, I wanted to create a piece of work that unified and celebrated the black community, as well as highlighting the issues that we face.
To fully understand the subject, I did vigorous research not only into afro hair but into current events surrounding topics such as ‘Black fishing’ and cultural appropriation. This helped me to better understand the prejudice we face as a community as well as what people are doing to combat these issues. Contextual research helped me better understand where my work would sit in the industry as well the format in which my work would take shape whereas practitioners inspired my aesthetic and chosen formats.
Inspired by the nickname given to me by my aunt during my formative years, ‘Fuzz’ is a celebratory publication that highlights the diversity of black hair and celebrates its versatility. It is a celebration of black identity. Fuzz’s 113-pages present editorial images of my own family, showcasing and celebrating them as individuals, as well as the beauty of their hair. Fuzz is also a celebration of those outside of my family, and includes curated stories submitted by members of the public about their hair journey and experiences. The publication sits alongside a 2-minute film under the same title, presenting the models more relaxed and care-free. To coincide with this, I also created a series of podcast episodes to enable further discussion and education on the matter. It was important for me to engage with different medias as I felt like images and words were not enough. It is time for voices to be heard. Click the link in my profile view the film in full.