Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Think You Know Someone...

I grew up hearing the name "Gordon Parks" regularly. The man was a legend and a legendary New Yorker. He was the first person of color to direct a major motion picture ("The Learning Tree") based on a screenplay he wrote based on a best-selling novel he wrote.
He also directed the original Shaft.
That alone would solidify his legendary status, but he was also an accomlished jazz pianist, ballet choreographer, composer, poet, and of course, civil rights leader.
But first and foremost and what I forgot over the years, he was one of the greatest photographers in history. His photos adorned the cover of Life magazine regularly.
Perhaps his most famous photograph, American Gothic, Washington, DC, combined his fervor for fairness with his sense of humour and married them in one of the most iconic photographs in history.
So I was struck when I read that the International Center of Photography would be running a retrospective of Parks' work to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth (he died in 2006).
Fittingly for a man of the city and one who fought for equal access for all, the exhibit will be displayed not in the gallery, but in the windows facing the street.