Gordon Parks: Collected Works

ARTBOOK | D.A.P.
Oct 17, 2014 2:30PM
"By the time I went to college in the late sixties, Parks was an international celebrity. Everyone knew his work, his name, his elegant style. He was a veritable Jackie Robinson of the creative arts, a towering inspiration. Everyone in my generation grew up with his photos in Life magazine. And every African-American knew that one of Life's staff photographers as a black man. It was quite difficult for me to believe—growing up in a segregated neighborhood in a small ton in West Virginia—that the man who as taking these photographs in Life was a black man, thriving as an artist on the staff of the most important repository of photojournalism in American society in the fifties and sixties. My mother was a constant inspiration to my brother and me, telling us that the path to success was an education and a profession. She wanted us to be doctors or lawyers. All the mothers I knew wanted that for their kids. And they were right. It was a path to success. But Gordon Parks showed that there as another path: through photography, through journalism. You could be a black artist and be successful. There were virtually none then. There are not enough now. Parks was the pioneer who showed the way. And with a legacy of tens of thousands of photographs that record his unique vision, he continues to do so." Excerpt of essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and featured image, "Camp Buddies, Haverstraw, New York" (1943) are reproduced from STEIDL/The Gordon Parks Foundationmagnificent five volume, five decade survey, Gordon Parks: Collected Works, releasing today from ARTBOOK | D.A.P.
ARTBOOK | D.A.P.