Gordon Parks - Joi High

Gordon Parks

February 13, 2018

Today I honor someone who blazed the trail for other Black photographers and me.

Some of my fondest memories are watching movies with my father on weekends. Most of them were Westerns, but Shaft was one we watched more than once. Fast forward many many years later, I was stunned when an obituary of the movie's director, Gordon Parks, was a reading in my photography class at Norfolk State University.

I learned from the obituary that directing movies was one many talents contained within Gordon Parks.

As a photographer, he started in fashion and later became a photojournalist. The way he used his camera to document the human experience caused him to be hired as the first Black staff photojournalist at Life Magazine.

New York, New York. A woman and her dog in the Harlem section, as the Library of Congress calls it, is one of my favorite Gordon Parks images because it's so fun. I'd love to know what the dog is staring so intently at and why wasn't it interesting enough to catch the woman's attention.

Learn more about Gordon Parks, the photographer, at the Gordon Parks Foundation.

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