Gordon Parks was one of the twentieth century’s foremost documentarians of American life. This exhibition features a selection of images from Segregation Story, Parks’s powerful 1956 photographic series, which documented an extended African American family in segregated Alabama. It was originally commissioned for a September 1956 issue of Life Magazine.
The photo-essay, “The Restraints: Open and Hidden,” contained only a fraction of the countless images that Parks shot during this time, but until the fortuitous discovery of 70 additional color transparencies in 2011, the bulk of the photographs taken for this assignment were thought to be lost.
Throughout the month of June, Blue Sky will show a limited-edition portfolio of twelve of these rarely-seen color images, reprinted and loaned by the Gordon Parks Foundation for this special exhibition.
Gordon Parks (1912–2006) began his career at the Farm Security Administration (FSA), working alongside Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and others, while capturing African-American life in Washington DC.
In 1948, he became the first African-American staff photographer and writer for Life Magazine, where he would stay for the next two decades, chronicling subjects related to racism and poverty, as well as taking memorable pictures of celebrities and politicians. At Life, Parks produced striking photographic essays of subjects ranging from racial segregation to celebrities like Duke Ellington and Marilyn Monroe. At the time of his death in 2006, Parks had received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts in 1988, and more than fifty honorary doctorates.
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