Gordon Parks is an African-American artist, whose career featured music, photography, writing, painting, and film. Parks is often credited with having influenced African-American filmmakers with his 1971 movie titled “Shaft”. He is one of the masters of “Blaxploitation”, which is still going strong as a movie genre.
The “Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950” exhibition presents visitors to the National Gallery of Art with an opportunity to experience his pioneering photographic work, featuring a trademark authenticity that still inspires shutterbugs. Here are some reasons why those who are on tours in Washington DC should make time for this retrospective.
To See Powerful Photographs of the District
In the early 1940’s, Gordon Parks was working for FSA (Farm Security Administration) as a fellow photographer. During that time, he captured images of a segregated city as well as the dire consequences African American families felt from the way they were regarded. His intimate photos showcase the past DC in a way you probably never saw before. This is one of the main reasons to check out this exhibition during your Washington DC tours.
To Understand the Time of One of the Greatest DC Photographers
The period surveyed in the exhibition saw Gordon Parks the photographer rise to prominence, perfecting a unique style and eventually taking striking photographs for leading magazines. In 1949, “LIFE” hired him as full-time photographer, and bear in mind that at the time, it was considered the best picture magazine out there. In this exhibition, you get to see Parks’ promising works, alongside those where his pure mastery is put on display.
The Exhibition Doubles as a Journey through the Life of a Legend
The life story of Gordon Parks is as fascinating as his art. Parks grew up in Fort Scott, Kansas, as the youngest child in his family. In his early years, America was still segregated by race and class, something which he had to experience during school life as well. He later worked at different jobs, including that of a railroad dining car waiter, before taking up photography. The exhibition guides visitors through Gordon Parks’ life, showing how he rose from humble beginnings to being one of the legends in the history of art itself.
Parks’ Photos Showcase a US in Transition
As his career evolved during the 1940’s, the US underwent drastic economic and social changes. The economic depression from the 1930’s was still affecting it at the start of the 1940’s. This was coincided by the country’s entry into the Second World War and the subsequent victory ravaged and united it, leading to postwar prosperity for some. Throughout it all, Gordon Parks showcased many sides of the country, including the rural and the urban, and everything in between.