i have featured images by photographer Gordon Parks many times on the blog, but have never done a post dedicated solely to his work. which is weird, considering he’s such a legend. he was the first African-American writer and staff photographer at Life, the first African-American photographer published in Vogue, and the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood film. in 1956, during his time at LIFE, he went to Alabama to shoot what would become one of the most important and influential photo essays of his career: Segregation Story.
Parks shot over 50 images for the project, however only about 20 of these appeared in LIFE. The rest of the transparencies were presumed to be lost during publication – until they were rediscovered in 2011, five years after Parks’ death. The photographs are now being exhibited for the first time and offer a more complete and complex look at how Parks’ used an array of images to educate the public about civil rights.
please note that the first image of this post (above – Boy with June Bug, Fort Scott, Kansas, 1963) is not from Segregation Story – but i loved it so much it had to be included. all images thanks to Artsy, courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation. you can currently see Segregation Story at Adamason Gallery in Washington, DC.