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Gordon Parks, Self-Portrait, 1941, gelatin silver print, Private Collection. Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 exhibit at the National Gallery of Art reveals the birth of a major and influential artist, photographer and film director (Shaft, a revolutionary film at the time, autobiographical The Learning Tree, and more). His photos and personal achievements were outstanding for a man of color during the rise of more racial awareness and activism. 

What Gordon Parks Witnessed. The injustices of Jim Crow and the evolution of a great American photographer” Engaging story of how Parks furthered his life, while informing the nation and the world of great cultural, social and political change. All due to his photography.

Some use words. Photographers use the most compelling tool of all: images.

Read more at the National Gallery of ArtGordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950.

A few Gordon Parks quotes:

“The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed.”

“I suffered evils, but without allowing them to rob me of the freedom to expand.”

“At first I wasn’t sure that I had the talent, but I did know I had a fear of failure, and that fear compelled me to fight off anything that might abet it.”

I just wrote about poet Langston Hughes, who collaborated with Black is Beautiful photographer, Kwame Brathwaite.

Please read Black is Beautiful Early Photos by Kwame Brathwaite to see his photos. Different, but overlapping eras. I see very different attitudes, due to generational and cultural shifts. The difference is certainly due to the very people these men photographed, and their involvement. 

Gordon Parks, [Poet] Langston Hughes, Chicago, December 1941, gelatin silver print, The Gordon Parks Foundation. Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Parks, Drug store “cowboys.” Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada. September 1945, gelatin silver print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (The Gordon Parks Collection). Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

Their photographs inspired so many on so many levels. What do they say to you? Culturally? Artistically? Most of all, what feelings do they invoke? Any actions or thinking you want to take or modify? 

(You can read a few free articles from the New York Times each month. Some libraries offer free daily access.)

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