Black History Feature

Black History Feature: Gordon Parks


I wanted to turn Creative Close-Up into something different for February. It’s the last week of February and yes it’s still Black History Month. The late Gordon Parks is our focus for Black History Feature. Photographer, musician, writer, and film director, he was well known for documentary photojournalism. 

American Gothic, Washington, D.C. Photo: Gordon Parks

A few facts on Parks:

  • Was the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures—developing films relating the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans, and creating the “blaxploitation” genre.
  • Worked on a federal government project which focused on poor Americans during the 1940s, for his photographic essays for Life magazine.
  • Directed the films The Learning Tree (1969) and Shaft (1971), along with The Super Cops (1974), Leadbelly (1976), and several others.
Doll Test, Harlem, New York, 1947 by Gordon Parks
  • When he was a teen, his first job was playing piano at a brothel. His song “No Love“, composed in another brothel, was performed during a national radio broadcast by Larry Funk and his orchestra in the early 1930s. In 1953, Parks composed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
  • Parks was not only a writer but a poet. Wrote 15 books like The Learning Tree, a book about the art and craft of photography he also wrote three volumes of memoirs–A Choice of Weapons (1966), Voices in the Mirror (1990), and A Hungry Heart (2005) 
  • Was co-founder of Essence magazine. 

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, be blessed. 


Featured and other images: NY Times, Wikipedia, & Artbasel


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