Fashion photographer and Sydney Northern Beaches identity, Adam Parsell, has pleaded guilty to assaulting a man after being disturbed while sleeping in his car.
The freelance celebrity photographer can be found in Palm Beach, living in a beaten up 1990s Holden Commodore wagon with the words ‘Gypsy Man’ written in paint marker. A passerby believing Parsell to be some sort of eccentric, unhinged ageing surf drifter, may be surprised to learn that over three decades he has worked with celebrities and brands like Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Cuba Gooding Jr, Olivia Newton-John, Dannii Minogue, Reebok, and Billabong.
A 2018 Courier Mail profile article on Parsell described him as a ‘one of Australia’s top fashion and lifestyle photographers’.
‘One day, the self-styled gypsy photographer can be strumming his guitar in the back of his wagon after a surf; the next, he can be on a plane to some exotic overseas locale for a five-figure photo shoot.
“I get much more minimalistic clarity living out of my car, and it saves me a lot of coin on rent,” says Parsell, who divides his time between Sydney, the Gold Coast and Brazil.’
Early in the morning on January 12 the assault victim – and six of his friends – drove into the beachside car park where the 60-year-old was sleeping in his car. At around 3:45am the victim tapped on Parsell’s window, and Parsell then got out, placed his hands on the bonnet of the victim’s vehicle and shouted ‘you shouldn’t be here’ and other slurs, according to police fact sheets tendered to court.
Parsell then approached the driver’s window and ‘reached through the open window and grabbed the victim by the head and shaken him around’. The victim and his friends drove away and parked in a nearby area, and Parsell arrived 15 minutes later in his car and attempted to block them in, but the victim managed to escape and they then called the police.
According to Parsell’s solicitor, Parsell followed them to record their licence plate. When police arrested Parsell in March, he told them he was ‘fearful’ of the victim and felt threatened. He also described himself as the ‘protector of Palm Beach’, and the court heard ‘intended to scare the victim’.
While Parsell’s solicitor asked the court not to record a conviction, Magistrate Robyn Denes told Parsell there was ‘no room for vigilantism’ and ‘you can’t put your hands on another person’. Parsell was convicted and fined $500.