The Amazing Gordon Parks

(I have been meaning to do a Haiti wrap-up page, but the fact is, it’s crazy to “wrap” it up. So I’m just going to move along to our new topic and do my best to keep on top of Haiti as we go…)

So, onward to THIS MONTH’S TOPIC….

This month, I’m going to be digging into things and people and events connected to  Black History, specifically, Black American History. I know what you’re thinking “Beth, it’s kind of lazy to piggy back on an established national event, Black History Month”. And you’re right.  But, what the heck,  it’s a nice focused topic and it has so many avenues of approach. (As for various theories out there about whether Black History Month is needed, wanted, good or bad, that’s a topic for another day….) Plus was we know, Im a history geek.

In this month of entries Im going to try to focus on people and events that may not fall into the “househould name” Black History category- stretching beyond Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. As always, you’ve got any topic suggestions, let me know. And I hope this will be a cool and enlightening month for OnePageFor.

I’m going to start things with an entry here for photographer Gordon Parks  

 I’d never heard of Parks (no relation to Rosa)  until I learned about him indirectly when I was reading something about stage/tv actor Avery Brooks a couple years ago.  I don’t know why I’m starting with Mr Parks- I guess he just came up and I said, oh, yeah, I want to talk about him. Plus, he fits the history category  times 2 : for photographing history and  for having important legacy of his own.

Parks had a varied career which included blazing a trail for African American photographers as he created his own art. His work  ranged from high fashion photography,  photograpy of everyday people for the US government during the Depression, photography of celebrities, and gripping photojournalism projects related to  serious topics like desegregation in the south, urban violence in New York  and poverty in South America.  He was the first African American to work for Life Magazine. He was also a noted composer and director of films like the iconic Shaft. I know, who knew the director of Shaft was one of America’s great  photographers, too?

 I’ve really only revealed the tip of the iceberg of Parks’ career and artistic contributions, obviously. There’s an   interview on PBS  that’s a good starting point for learning more as is his detailed  NYTimes obituary from 2006 when he died at age 93. There are some collections online as well. There is a documentary of his life called Half Past Autumn.  I intend to poke around and learn more. I really love his work.

But for now, I’ll let this sampling of photos speak:



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