Gordon Parks Exhibit at YCP

Gordon Parks Crossroads Exhibit at the Wolf Hall Cora Miller Gallery was hosted by Dr. Debra Willis.  She was his mentor and shared his life and work with the filled auditorium.  She took us back in history when she first met Parks, to interview him as a photographer.  What she found was Parks focus was always on family life, religion, work, the war, discrimination, death, women working, gangs, crime and more.  His camera recorded them all.

Gordon Parks 1912-2006

Parks makes a statement with his photos.  His portraits of people were unusual and he loved to use mirrors and available light.  He was particularly interested in discrimination of African Americans.  Parks interviewed his photo subjects, learned about them, and followed them home.

1948 Red Jackson & Hervie Levy look on at slain gang member Maurice Gaines

Red Jackson, legendary gang leader, let Parks drive him around as a chauffeur and photograph his life.  A gang leader’s life also included death, beatings and fascinating photographs.  There was that little stint with the Black Panthers: where Parks’ shoots his camera.  (Inside joke if you’re a photography buff.)


Muhammad Ali, back in 1970 is legendary.  Parks subject is a well-known and loved boxer.  He captures Ali with perfect lighting.  His whites are crisp and his blacks are black.  The gleam of Ali’s skin is captured right to the drips of sweat on his chin.  This is exceptional photography.

High fashion photos on the street

“Bring the fashion to the streets” was Parks breakout idea.  Who needs a mannequin when models move and pose on their own?  Models on the street, at store fronts, bridges, sidewalk, etc wearing the hip clothes became the rage in photo advertising.  Parks pioneered that genre.

Dr. Willis said, “Gordon Parks wanted a photo to tell a story.  He wanted to make a difference with his camera when he was live and a hundred years after he was dead.”

The public is welcome view Parks exhibit at The York College until it’s closing November 12th.

Welcome!  ~P.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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