This month, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture opened an expansive new exhibition, “Gordon Parks: 100 Moments” curated by “Through A Lens Darkly” co-producer and noted scholar and photographer, Deborah Willis. The new Photo Exhibit commemorates what would have been Mr. Parks’ 100th birthday. The photographer’s prolific career continues to reveal once forgotten gems including, “The Restraints: Open and Hidden” photo-essay for the September 1956 issue of Life Magazine.
The New York Times: Lens
By MAURICE BERGER
July 16, 2012
“While 20 photographs were eventually published in Life, the bulk of Mr. Parks’s work from that shoot was thought to have been lost. That is, until this spring, when the Gordon Parks Foundation discovered more than 70 color transparencies at the bottom of an old storage box, wrapped in paper and masking tape and marked, ‘Segregation Series.’”
“These quiet, compelling photographs elicit a reaction that Mr. Parks believed was critical to the undoing of racial prejudice: empathy. Throughout his career, he endeavored to help viewers, white and black, to understand and share the feelings of others. It was with this goal in mind that he set out to document the lives of the Thornton family, creating images meant to alter the way Americans viewed one another and, ultimately, themselves.”
“As the holistic depiction of black life in the rural South in the ‘Segregation Series’ demonstrates, the aspirations, responsibilities, vocations, and rituals of the Thornton family were no different from those of white Americans. Yet, these religious and law-abiding people, and others like them, were persecuted. It is this incongruity, made visible by Mr. Parks’s photographs, which may have appealed to the empathy and fairness of some of Life’s white readers. It challenged them to reconsider both their attitudes about segregation and the stereotypes they assigned to people who were little different from them.”
For the full New York Times article, see here: http://nyti.ms/M3m0BO.
And do not forget to check out the Gordon Parks: 100 Moments gallery at the Schomburg Center! The exhibition runs from July 12 to December 1, 2012. For more information, see: http://bit.ly/NkKxlO or visit: http://bit.ly/KYpubN.