Gordon Parks "100 Years"

International Center of Photography

poster for Gordon Parks "100 Years"

This event has ended.

To commemorate the centennial of the birth of photographer, filmmaker, musician, and writer Gordon Parks (1912–2006), the International Center of Photography in conjunction with The Gordon Parks Foundation will present Gordon Parks: 100 Years, a window installation at ICP (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) encompassing a large-scale photo mural and slideshow of more than 50 photographs he captured throughout his long, illustrious career.

On view from May 18, 2012–January 6, 2013, the 20-foot-by-13-foot photo mural will feature 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.

“As we celebrate Gordon Parks’ life we also celebrate his legacy as a humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice,” said Dr. Maurice Berger, Guest Curator. “The body of work he left behind documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006.” Parks was truly one of the most seminal figures of 20th century photography. Born in Fort Scott, Kansas,
on November 30, 1912, he moved to Minneapolis in 1928 and became a photographer in 1937 after seeing examples of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographs reproduced in a magazine. He was a fashion photographer in Minneapolis and Chicago, before going to Washington, D.C. and finding work with Roy Stryker at the FSA. He subsequently photographed for the Office of War Information and at the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Parks worked as a fashion photographer at Vogue beginning in 1944, and when

LIFE hired him as a staff photographer in 1948, he accepted assignments both in fashion and photojournalism. He remained at LIFE until 1970, producing many of his most important photo essays, such as those on Harlem gangs, segregation in the South, his own experiences with racism; on Flavio da Silva, a poor child living in Brazil; and on Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Panthers. A multi-talented artist, Parks was the first African-American to direct a Hollywood film—The Learning Tree (1969). His critically acclaimed films also include Diary of a Harlem Family (1968), Shaft (1971), and Leadbelly (1976). He composed music and published novels, memoirs, poetry and book-length photo essays. This versatility made him one of the most respected artists of his time. Parks’ photographs include portraits, landscapes and cityscapes, fashion shots, abstract images, as well as intimate views of communities all over the world.

Parks also had a long association with ICP. A close friend of Founder Cornell Capa, Parks received ICP’s Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1990. He is well represented in the museum’s permanent collection and ICP presented a major retrospective of his work, Moments Without Proper Names: Photographs by Gordon Parks, in 1975.



from May 18, 2012 to January 06, 2013


Gordon Parks

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