I was asked by On-the-Town Magazine to comment on the life and career of legendary photographer Gordon Parks. An exhibit of his photographs is coming to the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Parks has always been one of the top three photographers that have inspired me the most. He was incredible man with an insatiable drive and zest for life. Aside from shooting for LIFE Magazine and Vogue in the 1940's...an unthinkable achievement for a black man in a segregated society, he also directed (among others) the iconic film Shaft.
He created powerful images. And possessed equally powerful charisma. That combination granted him access few photographers have ever enjoyed.
Gordon Parks had a long affair with railroad heiress, socialite and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt. He also shared a great friendship with Malcolm X. That speaks volumes about the man and the worlds he was able to inhabit so freely.