If you or your children are aspiring photographers, Gordon Parks is someone you need to know about! He was an American art and photojournalism photographer, the first Black staff member of Life Magazine, the first Black director of a major film (Shaft), and on top of all of that, a father of four. With his photography ranging from powerful photojournalism to glamour shots for Vogue, Parks has been a powerful role model for aspiring photographers for decades.
As a photographer, film director, writer, and musician, Parks was a man of many artistic talents. His work in the 1940s through 1970s was groundbreaking and helped to bring civil rights, poverty, race relations, and urban life to mainstream American culture. Parks saw the power of calling attention to social issues through his photography, and through his art, and became recognized as an activist. He captured the everyday lives of Black people in America in a way many in mainstream American culture had never seen before. All while Dadding his four kiddos!
The Gordon Parks Foundation was created to preserve Parks’ work and make it available for the public to experience. The foundation also provides support and education that contribute to what Parks called “the common search for a better life and a better world.” What a man! What a Dad!
From The Gordon Parks Foundation website, "The Gordon Parks Foundation supports and produces artistic and educational initiatives that advance the legacy and vision of Gordon Parks for social justice... The Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by Parks with his longtime friend and editor at LIFE magazine, Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., to preserve his creative work and support the next generation of artists advancing social justice.
Through scholarly exhibitions, publications, critical research projects, and public programs organized in collaboration with institutions internationally and at its exhibition space in Pleasantville, New York, The Gordon Parks Foundation provides access to, and deepens understanding of the work and legacy of Gordon Parks for artists, scholars, students, and the public. The artist’s archive of photographs, negatives, and contact sheets is a critical resource for scholars and curators in the development of academic research and institutional exhibitions.
Drawing inspiration from the pivotal role of a fellowship Parks received early in his career, the Foundation’s educational and grant-making initiatives are core to its mission and year-round activities. Through The Gordon Parks Foundation Scholarships and Prizes and The Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship, the Foundation provides vital support to artists and champions current and future generations of creatives whose work continues his legacy. These initiatives are made possible through The Gordon Parks Arts and Social Justice Fund, established by the Foundation in 2019."
To learn more about the Gordon Parks Foundation, find inspiration from some incredible artists, and support their mission, visit their website below.
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