13 May 2009

In His Solitude | Gordon Parks, 1979

Photographer and film maker Gordon Parks, California, 1979. was a groundbreaking American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. He was the first African American to work at Life magazine, and the first to write, direct, and score a Hollywood film. He is best remembered for his photo essays and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft. Parks' son, Gordon Parks, Jr. (1934-1979), directed blaxploitation films, including Super Fly.

A 1948 photo essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For 20 years, Parks produced photos on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, racial segregation, and portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. For an introduction to his photography, click here.

Many times I wondered whether my achievement was worth the loneliness I experienced, but now I realize the price was small. -Gordon Parks