First of all, my apologies for anyone who saw too many very incomplete posts on this topic on Friday. I blame Flickr, which kept telling me the picture hadn’t posted, but I also should have checked. *sigh*
Anything we could say about Gordon Parks has been said at least as well by others. Nonetheless, it behooves a blog that cares about the intersection of photography with social justice work to note his death at age 94.
Just before Parks died, I was struck by a comment of his in George Plimpton’s oral biography of Truman Capote. Parks refused to wear a mask at Capote’s infamous “black and white ball,” because, as he said, if his face wasn’t visible there wouldn’t be any black at the ball.
No one photograph does his many decades of work justice, but here’s a sample.
And one quotation that relates closely to things we frequently say: “The photographer begins to feel big and bloated and so big he can’t walk through one of these doors because he gets a good byline; he gets notices all over the world and so forth; but they’re really – the important people are the people he photographs.”
Sadly, I can’t find a good representative collection of his photographs in any one place on the Web, but here’s one place to start.