Gordon Parks is someone who is and should truly be considered a trailer blazer, not only in the world of photography but in journalism, film and art in general. Primarily self taught, His photographs, many of which have become iconic in the medium, would go on to influence many a photographer to this very day. His style was a gritty true to life technique, showing the effects of real world living and the toll it takes on the individual in those conditions. But Parks himself was as versatile as one could every hope to be in the world of photography, even by today’s standards.
He could easily go from the harsh environments of urban life, to the painful and ugly reality of segregation, to the basic need of trying to survive in a life of abject poverty, to the glamour of high fashion with relative ease. Parks’ employment with LIFE magazine for twenty years would see his photographs catch the eye of individuals from every corner of this country, and it would take him from the worlds of gangland violence, to political figures that would change the world in which he lived, to some of the biggest named celebrities of the time. Gordon Parks life and work as a photographer is without a doubt some of the most important in all of photography.
He brought the medium of photography to another level, showing that pictures could document the lives and tell the stories of individuals in a way that no broadcast, movie or written work could not. Parks style and especially his versatility showed that a photographer needn’t be pigeon holed into one brand or genre of photography, and more than anything, that is perhaps his greatest influence on me.