Happy 100th Birthday Gordon Parks!
Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era—from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes.
His 1948 photo essay on the life of a Harlem gang leader won him widespread acclaim and a position as the first African American staff photographer and writer for LIFE Magazine, then by far the most prominent photojournalist publication in the world. Parks would remain atLIFE Magazine for two decades, chronicling subjects related to racism and poverty, as well as taking memorable pictures of celebrities and politicians (including Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael).
To commemorate the centennial of the birth of photographer, filmmaker, musician, and writer Gordon Parks (1912–2006), the International Center of Photography in cooperation with The Gordon Parks Foundation presents the installation Gordon Parks: 100 Years, including a large-scale photo mural and slideshow of more than 50 photographs he captured throughout his long, illustrious career.
The 20-foot-by-13-foot photo mural features Emerging Man, one of Parks’ iconic images captured in Harlem in 1952. Three video screens will display his stunning images, which explore such issues as urban and rural poverty, racism and prejudice, politics, and the historic Civil Rights Movement.
Gordon Parks: 100 Years was curated by Dr. Maurice Berger in conjunction with ICP and The Gordon Parks Foundation, a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation.
Check out more of Parks’ images in the slideshow on ABC News’ Picture This blog, Celebrating the Life of Photographer Gordon Parks.
*Short biography courtesy of The Gordon Parks Foundation.