Because photography touches most everything, our topics have been far-ranging — from the environment, cyberbullying and immigration to race, gender and class. We have written about famed photographers like Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks and Diane Arbus as well as emerging image makers like Citlali Fabián, Fethi Sahraoui, Daniel Edwards and Mengwen Cao. And we have written about the need for more diverse storytellers to help us better understand the world we live in.
Gordon Parks: Red Jackson, Harlem, New York, 1948; gelatin silver print; 19 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. Gordon Parks: Untitled, Harlem, New York, 1948; gelatin silver print with applied pigment;…
1948 was a watershed year in the career of American photographer Gordon Parks. An established fashion photographer who had been working on assignment for LIFE magazine, Parks was also an accomplished author, publishing his second book, Camera Portraits, a collection of his work accompanied by professional observations about posing, lighting, and printing. At the same, time, Parks longed for something deeper and more essential to his soul.
A look at Gordon Parks’s first photo essay for Life shows how editors’ choices of words and pictures can manipulate meaning.
Fresh from assignments at Vogue and Glamour in 1948, Gordon Parks appeared one morning at Life’s New York headquarters, determined to show his portfolio to Wilson Hicks, the magazine’s esteemed picture editor. Mr. Hicks was initially reluctant, but he warmed to Mr. Parks’s work and the story he pitched about the gang warfare then plaguing Harlem.
A stunning personal record of Parks' childhood in rarely seen images, and a groundbreaking account of segregation in America before the Civil Rights movement.
Throughout his illustrious career, photographer Gordon Parks would don many hats that would take him all around the world. From photographer to director, writer to author, songwriter to composer, Parks established himself as a Renaissance man of the 20th century. But it would be the pull of nostalgia and the need to retrace childhood memories that would bring Parks back to his home town of Fort Scott, Kan., 24 years after he left.
“Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument,” a recently released book and concurrent exhibition presented by The Gordon Parks Foundation and the New Orleans Museum of Art, is a critical examination of this assignment, after which Parks became Life’s first African-American staff photographer.
A new five-volume set from Steidl presents an unparalleled survey of Gordon Parks’s career, and just in time for his 100th birthday.
Though he was quite famous for being a filmmaker and the first African-American photographer for Life magazine, until this year, the 100th anniversary of his birth, most of his photographs, except for a few iconic images, were not widely known. That’s changing this week as the publisher Gerhard Steidl’s famed presses print “Gordon Parks: Collected Works,” a comprehensive five-volume collection of Mr. Parks’s photographs.
While 20 photographs were eventually published in Life, the bulk of Mr. Parks’s work from that shoot was thought to have been lost. That is, until this spring, when the Gordon Parks Foundation discovered more than 70 color transparencies at the bottom of an old storage box, wrapped in paper and masking tape and marked, “Segregation Series.”
And now we get to sample the result in a gem of a book, “Fields of Vision: The Photographs of Gordon Parks,” just published by the Library of Congress and the Giles publishing house. It presents 50 of Mr. Parks’s F.S.A. photos from the library’s holdings. The editor, Amy Pastan, has found many fine photographs that have rarely been seen.
Tribute to Gordon Parks
From The Digital Journalist, a series of remembrances and photo galleries on the late photographer Gordon Parks:
We at The Digital Journalist want to acknowledge that with his death on March 7th of this year not only has photography lost a giant, but so too has humanity, so we offer in this issue a mix of his work and recollections from people who knew him well and loved him for it. Here.