Sunday, February 10, 2013

Black History Month: Gordon Parks 101

"I still don't know exactly who I am," Gordon Parks wrote in his 1979 memoir, "To Smile in Autumn." He added, "I've disappeared into myself so many different ways that I don't know who 'me' is."

Wow.  Pretty profound from a man who is so well known and loved throughout the world.

Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks was a celebrated photographer who left behind a body of work that captured some of the most important aspects of American culture.  He was a visionary who also made films, composed music and wrote books.  A true renaissance man.  

He broke barriers in the world of photography; a genius at telling complex (and controversial) stories through pictures.  But you wanna know what I love the most about him?  His compassion and commitment to social justice.  


Unlike most of today's celebrities, Gordon Parks used his influence to bring attention to the ugly realities of racism, poverty and injustice.  In fact, he once called his camera a "weapon against poverty and racism."

He wasn't afraid to give a voice to the world's 'forgotten' people. His work gave people a pulse.  It made them human.  When you look at his collections, you can't turn away. You won't forget.  And for that alone, his memory will always be cemented in American History.

In honor of Black History Month, Macy's, the Gordon Parks Foundation and the American Black Film Festival will be celebrating the works of Gordon Parks in Atlanta on Saturday, February 16th (2:00 pm, Macy's Lenox Mall).  If you've never seen his work, go. You'll be amazed. I promise. 

   


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