Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gordon Parks: Creative Force, American Original

Parks' took this photograph of cleaning lady Ella Watson in 1942. while working for the Farm Security Administration. It launched his career.

Gordon Parks died Tuesday at the age of 93. A native Kansan, Parks was a major creative force – a photographer, writer and movie director. Here’s what two newspapers have to say about Parks extraordinary career:

An iconoclast, Mr. Parks fashioned a career that resisted categorization. No matter what medium he chose for his self-expression, he sought to challenge stereotypes while still communicating to a large audience. In finding early acclaim as a photographer despite a lack of professional training, he became convinced that he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to. To an astonishing extent, he proved himself right.

–Andy Grundberg, New York Times, 3/8/06

Parks, who died Tuesday at the age of 93 in New York, crisscrossed America and the world for decades. He was an artist, writer, movie director. He was a Life photographer when that gig gave you a powerful cachet. In America, he used his cameras like six-shooters, aiming right at the nation's broken souls, her sad-eyed children, her blacks, browns and whites, her shoeshine men and faceless women with both dishrag and dignity.

–Will Haygood, Washington Post, 3/9/06

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