Gordon Parks
American photographer
Gordon Parks
For the Scottish sports journalist and former footballer, see Gordon Parks Gordon Parks File:Gordon Parks.
Biography
Gordon Parks's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Gordon Parks from around the web
Letters | Saturday, Aug. 27 - Kansas City Star
Google News - over 5 years
Gordon Parks said, “Violence is the other side of creativity.” The internationally acclaimed African-American photographer, author, film director and choreographer was reflecting on his personal experience growing up in the streets of Kansas City and
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Films | Get your fill of festivals - Kansas City Star
Google News - over 5 years
This year's fest also includes discussion of other Kansas-born filmmakers including Gordon Parks (“Shaft,” “The Learning Tree”), Delbert Mann (“Marty”), adventure filmmakers Martin and Osa Johnson, Louise Brooks and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and current
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"Fields of Vision" series features 20th-century photographers Gordon Parks ... - Art Daily
Google News - over 5 years
Selected images from the works of FSA/OWI photographers Gordon Parks (1912-2006), Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985) and Carl Mydans (1907-2004) are now featured in the Library of Congress series titled "Fields of Vision." These new titles join the first six
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A vision for green space: The Gordon Parks Initiative - Twin Cities Planet
Google News - over 5 years
Such as a two million dollar property acquisition and redevelopment of two vacant lots behind Gordon Parks High School. Paul Creager, the Curriculum Coordinator for Gordon Parks High School (at Griggs and University), is one of those champions
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Fotog kin hits hubby for kid $$ - New York Post
Google News - over 5 years
The daughter of famed photographer Gordon Parks says her celebrity-chef husband is behind on child support and illegally diverted money from the sale of a house to avoid paying her, according to a new lawsuit
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Phoenix Art Museum Exhibition Features Many of Gordon Parks' Most Memorable Images - Art Daily
Google News - over 5 years
Gordon Parks spent the majority of his professional career at the crossroads of the glamorous and the ghetto – two extremes the noted photographer knew well. Perhaps best recognized for his works chronicling the African-American experience,
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Parks photo contest continues after threat of cancellation - Fort Scott Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
One of the entries in the Gordon Parks photo competition is seen here. This image was captured by Benita Keller, Shepherdstown, W. Va. A longstanding photography contest will take place this year after organizers discussed canceling
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The FIRST Solomon Northrup Movie (and an observation…) - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Starring Avery Brooks, it was the last project directed by the great Gordon Parks who passed away in 2006. The film was made for PBS for its then American Playhouse series, and it's an excellent film, though it's seriously hampered by its obvious
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Fort Scott Area Community Foundation taking grant applications - Fort Scott Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
*Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity Foundation -- Helped fund Phillip Mentor, a musician, who performed for middle school students during the 2009 Gordon Parks Celebration. *Life in a Jar Foundation at the Lowell Milken Center -- Funded an
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Longtime Parks friend donates slides to museum - Fort Scott Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
JK Graham looks at a photo he took of Gordon Parks and his son, Gordon Parks Jr., in 1968 on the set of "The Learning Tree," a 1969 film directed by Parks that is based upon the 1964 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name
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“For All the World to See” Taking Another Look at the Civil Rights Movement - Smithsonian (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
... at the history of black magazines, clips from groundbreaking TV documentaries and shows, a touch screen story of the Emmett Till case and photographs documenting the movement taken by Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava and Carl Van Vechten, among others
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Dance, arts and the unexpected - Access Atlanta
Google News - over 5 years
Included are works by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Gordon Parks, James Van Der Zee and Ernest Withers. Through July 31. Free with museum admission. 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. ● “Equal Rites: The Art of Michael D. Harris,” opening today at
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Series reboot brings back 'Torchwood' - Yorkdispatch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Two officers fight the system in the 1974 police drama "The Super Cops" (2:15 am, TCM) -- directed by esteemed photographer Gordon Parks, best known for "Shaft." ---Jeff Foxworthy appears on "Shark Tank" (8 pm, ABC, r, TV-PG). ---Clark and Lois tie the
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Photos: July Fourth Around The Country - NPR (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The iconic imagery that resulted — taken by such now recognizable names as Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks and Walker Evans — was archived by the Library of Congress and is today available to the public. The Library of Congress recently announced a new
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IB distinction expands for Parks Academy - Kansas.com
Google News - over 5 years
Gordon Parks Academy, near 25th and Grove, opened as an "IB candidate school" in 2008. The process to become certified by the international organization involves staff training, interviews and visits from IB supervisors,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Gordon Parks
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2006
    Age 93
    Died on March 7, 2006.
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  • 2000
    Age 87
    By 2000, however, WSU and Parks had healed their division.
    More Details Hide Details The university resumed honoring Parks and accumulating his work. In 2008, the Gordon Parks Foundation selected WSU as repository for 140 boxes of Parks’ photos, manuscripts, letters and other papers. In 2014, another 125 of Park's photos were acquired from the Foundation by WSU, with help from Wichita philanthropists Paula and Barry Downing, for display at the university's Ulrich Museum of Art. The Gordon Parks Collection, in the Arts, Culture, and Humanities section of the Special Collections of Kansas State University primarily documents the creation of his film The Learning Tree.
    In April 2000, the LOC awarded Parks its accolade "Living Legend", one of only 26 writers and artists so honored by the LOC.
    More Details Hide Details The LOC also holds Parks's published and unpublished scores, and several of his films and television productions. Parks' autobiographical motion picture, The Learning Tree, and his African-American, anti-hero action-drama Shaft, have both been selected to be permanently preserved as part of the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The Learning Tree was one of the original group of 25 films first selected by the LOC for the National Film Registry. The National Archives also hold the film, My Father, Gordon Parks (1969: archive 306.08063A) -- a film about Parks and his production of his autobiographical motion picture, The Learning Tree,—is preserved in the National Archives of the United States—along with a print (from the original) of Solomon Nortup's Odyssey, a film made by Parks for a Public Broadcasting System telecast about the ordeal of slave. The Archives also hold various photos from Parks' years in government service.
    In 2000, as an homage, he had a cameo appearance in the Shaft sequel that starred Samuel L. Jackson in the title role as the namesake and nephew of the original John Shaft.
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  • 1995
    Age 82
    The Library of Congress (LOC) reports that, in 1995, it "acquired Parks' personal collection, including papers, music, photographs, films, recordings, drawings and other products of his... career."
    More Details Hide Details The LOC was already home to a federal archive that included Parks' first major photojournalism projects—photographs he produced for the Farm Security Administration (1942-1943), and for the Office of War Information (1943-1945).
  • 1991
    Age 78
    In 1991, Wichita State University (WSU), in Wichita, the largest city in Parks' home state of Kansas, awarded Parks its highest honor for achievement: the President's Medal.
    More Details Hide Details However, in the mid-1990s, after Parks entrusted WSU with a collection of 150 of his famous photos, WSU—for various reasons (including confusion as to whether they were a gift or loan, and whether the University could adequately protect and preserve them) -- returned them, stunning and deeply upsetting Parks. A further snub came from Wichita's city officials, who also declined the opportunity to acquire many of Parks' papers and photos.
  • 1990
    Age 77
    It was screened on national television on King's birthday in 1990.
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  • 1989
    Age 76
    In 1989, he composed and directed Martin, a ballet dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader who had been assassinated.
    More Details Hide Details Starting in the late-1940s, Parks began writing—a second career that would produce 15 books and lead to his role as a prominent black filmmaker—starting with books on the art and craft of photography. Beginning in the 1960s, Parks branched out into literature, writing The Learning Tree (1963). He authored several books of poetry, which he illustrated with his own photographs, and he wrote three volumes of memoirs. In 1981, Parks turned to fiction with Shannon, a novel about Irish immigrants fighting their way up the social ladder in turbulent early 20th-century New York. Parks' writing accomplishments include novels, poetry, autobiography, and non-fiction that includes photographic instructional manuals and film-making books. During this period, Parks also wrote the poem "The Funeral". A gallery exhibition of his photography-related, abstract oil paintings was held in 1981. Parks was a co-founder of Essence magazine and served as its editorial director during the first three years of its circulation.
  • 1979
    Age 66
    Parks fathered four children: Gordon, Jr., David, Leslie, and Toni (Parks-Parsons). His oldest son Gordon Parks, Jr., whose talents resembled his father's, was killed in a plane crash in 1979 in Kenya, where he had gone to direct a film.
    More Details Hide Details Parks has five grandchildren: Alain, Gordon III, Sarah, Campbell, and Satchel. Malcolm X honored Parks when he asked him to be the godfather of his daughter, Qubilah Shabazz. He died of cancer at the age of 93 while living in Manhattan, New York City, and is buried in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas. Several parties are recipient or heirs to different parts of Parks' archival record. The Gordon Parks Foundation in Pleasantville, New York (formerly in Chappaqua, New York), reports that it "permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media," The organization also says it "supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Gordon described as 'the common search for a better life and a better world.'" That support includes scholarships for "artistic" students, and assistance to researchers. Their headquarters includes an exhibition space with rotating photography exhibits, open free to the public, with guided group tours available by arrangement. The foundation also admits "qualified researchers" to their archive, by appointment. The foundation collaborates with other organizations and institutions, nationally and internationally, to advance its aims.
  • 1976
    Age 63
    Candace Bushnell claims to have dated Parks in 1976, when she was 18 and he was 58.
    More Details Hide Details For many years, Parks was romantically involved with Gloria Vanderbilt, the railroad heiress and designer. Their relationship evolved into a deep friendship that endured throughout his lifetime.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1972
    Age 59
    Parks also directed the 1972 sequel, Shaft's Big Score, in which the protagonist finds himself caught in the middle of rival gangs of racketeers.
    More Details Hide Details Parks's other directorial credits include The Super Cops (1974) and Leadbelly (1976), a biopic of the blues musician Huddie Ledbetter. In the 1980s, he made several films for television and composed the music and a libretto for Martin, a ballet tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., which premiered in Washington, D.C. during 1989.
  • 1971
    Age 58
    Shaft, a 1971 detective film directed by Parks and starring Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, became a major hit that spawned a series of films that would be labeled as, blaxploitation.
    More Details Hide Details The blaxploitation genre was one in which negative stereotypes of black males being involved with drugs, violence and women, were exploited for commercially successful films featuring black actors. Parks' feel for settings was confirmed by Shaft, with its portrayal of the super-cool leather-clad, black private detective hired to find the kidnapped daughter of a Harlem racketeer.
  • 1969
    Age 56
    With his film adaptation of his autobiographical novel, The Learning Tree in 1969, Parks became Hollywood's first major black director.
    More Details Hide Details It was filmed in his home town of Fort Scott, Kansas. Parks also wrote the screenplay and composed the musical score for the film, with assistance from his friend, the composer Henry Brant.
  • FORTIES
  • 1962
    Age 49
    He married Elizabeth Campbell in 1962 and they divorced in 1973. Parks first met Chinese-American editor Genevieve Young (stepdaughter of Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo) in 1962 when he began writing The Learning Tree. At that time, his publisher assigned her to be his editor. They became romantically involved at a time when they both were divorcing previous spouses, and married in 1973. They divorced in 1979.
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  • 1960
    Age 47
    During his years with Life, Parks also wrote a few books on the subject of photography (particularly documentary photography), and in 1960 was named Photographer of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Photographers.
    More Details Hide Details In the 1950s, Parks worked as a consultant on various Hollywood productions. He later directed a series of documentaries on black ghetto life that were commissioned by National Educational Television.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1950
    Age 37
    An exhibition of photographs from a 1950 project Parks completed for Life was exhibited in 2015 at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
    More Details Hide Details Parks returned to his hometown, Fort Scott, Kansas, where segregation persisted, and he documented conditions in the community and the contemporary lives of many of his eleven classmates from the segregated middle school they attended. The project included his commentary, but the work was never published by Life.
  • 1948
    Age 35
    A 1948 photographic essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with America's leading photo-magazine, Life.
    More Details Hide Details His involvement with Life would last until 1972. For over 20 years, Parks produced photographs on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, and racial segregation, as well as portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. He became "one of the most provocative and celebrated photojournalists in the United States." His photographs for Life magazine, namely his 1956 photo essay, titled "The Restraints: Open and Hidden," illuminated the effects of racial segregation while simultaneously following the everyday lives and activities of three families in and near Mobile, Alabama: the Thronton’s, Causey’s, and Tanner’s. As curators at the High Museum of Art Atlanta note, while Parks’ photo essay served as decisive documentation of the Jim Crow South and all of its effects, he did not simply focus on demonstrations, boycotts, and brutality that were associated with that period instead, however, he "emphasized the prosaic details" of the lives of several families.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1941
    Age 28
    Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and, in 1941, an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration (FSA).
    More Details Hide Details Working at the FSA as a trainee under Roy Stryker, Parks created one of his best-known photographs, American Gothic, Washington, D.C., named after the iconic Grant Wood painting, American Gothic—a legendary painting of a traditional, stoic, white American farm couple—which bore a striking, but ironic, resemblance to Parks' photograph of a black menial laborer. Parks "haunting" photograph shows a black woman, Ella Watson, who worked on the cleaning crew of the FSA building, standing stiffly in front of an American flag hanging on the wall, a broom in one hand and a mop in the background. Parks had been inspired to create the image after encountering racism repeatedly in restaurants and shops in the segregated capital city. Upon viewing the photograph, Stryker said that it was an indictment of America, and that it could get all of his photographers fired. He urged Parks to keep working with Watson, however, which led to a series of photographs of her daily life. Parks said later that his first image was overdone and not subtle; other commentators have argued that it drew strength from its polemical nature and its duality of victim and survivor, and so has affected far more people than his subsequent pictures of Mrs. Watson.
  • 1940
    Age 27
    She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women.
    More Details Hide Details Parks's photographic work in Chicago, especially in capturing the myriad experiences of African Americans across the city, led him to receive the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship, which, in turn, contributed to being asked to join the Farm Security Administration under the auspice of Roy Striker
  • 1933
    Age 20
    Parks was married and divorced three times. He married Sally Alvis in Minneapolis during 1933 and they divorced in 1961.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1929
    Age 16
    When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought an end to the club, he jumped a train to Chicago, where he managed to land a job in a flophouse.
    More Details Hide Details While working as a waiter in a railroad dining car, he began seeing the portfolios of photographers in picture magazines, and decided to become a photographer. At the age of 25, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brillant, for $12.50 at a Seattle, Washington, pawnshop. The photography clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to seek a fashion assignment at a women's clothing store in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was owned by Frank Murphy. Those photographs caught the eye of Marva Louis, wife of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis.
    In 1929, he briefly worked in a gentlemen's club, the Minnesota Club.
    More Details Hide Details There he not only observed the trappings of success, but was able to read many books from the club library.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1912
    Born
    Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Sarah (née Ross) and Jackson Parks, Nov. 30, 1912.
    More Details Hide Details He was the last child born to them. His father was a farmer who grew corn, beets, turnips, potatoes, collard greens, and tomatoes. They also had a few ducks, chickens, and hogs. He attended a segregated elementary school. The town was too small to afford a separate high school that would facilitate segregation of the secondary school, but blacks were not allowed to play sports or attend school social activities, and they were discouraged from developing any aspirations for higher education. Parks related in a documentary on his life that his teacher told him that his desire to go to college would be a waste of money. When Parks was eleven years old, three white boys threw him into the Marmaton River, knowing he couldn't swim. He had the presence of mind to duck underwater so they wouldn't see him make it to land.
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