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Gordon Parks


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About the Author

Gordon Parks was born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912. An itinerant laborer, he worked as a brothel pianist and railcar porter, among other jobs, before buying a camera at a pawnshop, training himself and becoming a photographer. During his storied tenures photographing for the Farm Security Administration (1941-45) and Life magazine (1948-72), Parks evolved into a modern-day Renaissance man, finding success as a film director, writer and composer. The first African American director to helm a major motion picture, he helped launch the blaxploitation genre with his film Shaft (1971). He wrote numerous memoirs, novels and books of poetry, and received many awards, including the National Medal of Arts, and more than 50 honorary degrees. Parks died in 2006.


Charts the evolution and social conscience formed in the breakthrough early years of Gordon Parks's seven-decade career.-- "Globe and Mail"
The early work of ground-breaking photojournalist Gordon Parks.-- "Guardian"
[Gordon Parks: The New Tide] looks back at the groundbreaking first decade of his career, during which he rose to become the first African-American photographer at LIFE magazine.--Miss Rosen "AnOther Magazine"
A new book examines Gordon Parks's transformation over the formative decade before his time as the first black staff photographer at Life magazine.--James Estrin "New York Times"
A new exhibition and a companion catalogue, published by Steidl, looks at ten formative years in Parks's career that laid the foundation for his creative output in social documentary, fashion photography, fiction and memoir.-- "PDN"
Gordon Parks -- perhaps more than any artist -- saw poverty as "the most savage of all human afflictions" and realized the power of empathy to help us understand it.--Maurice Berger "New York Times"
In both subject and style, the work is vigorously exploratory and various.--Mark Feeney "Boston Globe"
The catalog is as accomplished for the photographs it reprints as it is for its many fine essays on Parks, including those by Maurice Berger, Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis and Philip Brookman, which contextualize Parks with the writers who mattered to him, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright among them.--Teju Cole "New York Times Magazine"

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