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||tribute to gordon parks|
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|writer, poet, musician, composer, filmmaker, photographer|
|Gordon Parks was one of the 20th century's greatest multitalented cultural treasures: a writer, poet, musician, composer, filmmaker, and photographer. [In his book, "Half Past Autumn, "the companion volume to a U.S. exhibition], the full flower of Parks' genius is both awe-inspiring in its depth and thorough in its demolition of the era's social-science fictions about African American potential.
Born in Fort Scott, Kansas in 1912, Parks wandered as a homeless teen. During World War II he worked as a correspondent for various organizations. Through wit, smarts, and improvisation -- and no experience -- landed a job as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration. Then with his new skill, joined Life magazine as a photojournalist (1949–70). "Tyrants, dictators, dethroned kings," he writes, "all stared into my camera with eyes that were unveiled. The camera revealed them as they were -- human beings imprisoned inside themselves."
Highlights among his photographic work include the haunting shot of domestic Ella Watson, the starkness of a 1940s teenaged gang leader named Red Jackson lying eternally young in his coffin, and the elegant, life-and-death ballet of the Spanish bullfight. Parks' depiction of Duke Ellington's towering music in motion reflects the importance of jazz and blues in Parks' artistry.
He also composed numerous popular songs and sonatas, including Symphonic Set: A Piece for Piano and Wind Instruments and The Learning Tree Symphony.
He wrote several books, including The Learning Tree (1966) and Born Black (1971). In 1976 he went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), where he directed Shaft (1971) and The Super Cops (1973), moving to Paramount Pictures as a staff director (1976).
Gordon Parks died in March 2006. From his films Shaft and The Learning Tree (the latter adapted from his own novel) to his impressionistic ballet honoring Martin Luther King Jr., his work swings with an American rhythm that continues to inspire.
Gordon Parks: Half Past Autumn
A Hungry Heart: A Memoir
Eyes with Winged Thoughts: Poems and Photographs
poems & photographs
Gordon Parks: No Excuses
A Star for Noon: An Homage to Women in Images, Poetry and Music
Other books by or about Gordon Parks
The Learning Tree
Gordon Parks' classic film (VHS), and the book that the film was based on
Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks
Other films by or about Gordon Parks on DVD
Other films by or about Gordon Parks on VHS
Children on Harlem Street, 1943
Government Charwoman, Washington, D.C.
Other photographs by Gordon Parks
artists' biographies on video
Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks