Academic journal article Afterimage

Half Past Autumn. (Reviews)

Academic journal article Afterimage

Half Past Autumn. (Reviews)

Article excerpt

Half Past Autumn

The Photography of Gordon Parks.

George Eastman House,

Rochester, NY.

February 1 - April 6, 2003.

How can anyone summarize any artist's life in 199 photographs? Such a goal sounds all the more difficult to meet when the considered body of work spans 70 years. Such a retrospective becomes even more challenging in the case of Gordon Parks who has been in turns and simultaneously a photographer, a musician, a composer, a poet, a novelist, an essayist and a film director. The trouble for a curator is that Mr. Parks has succeeded in every field in which he has ventured; it is also to know that every one of his achievements informed the others. Documentary and socially involved photography, from the images for the Farm Security Administration to the photo-essays published in Life, fashion photographs and the portraits of celebrities, inspired and were inspired by Parks's poems, writings and films. The public visiting the George Eastman House discovers the life work of a genuine Renaissance man whose wisdom and sensitivity pervade every single image of the show. From the beginning Parks had to struggle hard to c ompete with the best; he also had a handicap in a world of photography almost entirely white in that he was black. As such he stands as a model and an exception. As such he has also always been on the side of the underprivileged who found in him a sensitive ear and a keen eye. From the very beginning he made the pledge to use his camera as "a weapon against poverty and racism." No wonder Parks's is at his strongest in his reportage work. …

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