Vintage photograph by Gordon Parks, Muhammad Ali, 1966 at Miami (8 x 10 inches)
Gordon Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s—particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans—and in glamour photography. As the first famous pioneer among black filmmakers, he was the first African-American to produce and direct major motion pictures—developing films relating the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans, and creating the “blaxploitation” genre. He is best remembered for his iconic photos of poor Americans during the 1940s (taken for a federal government project), for his photographic essays for Life magazine, and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft. Parks also was an author, poet and composer.
Photographer of the Defining Moment
“His use of the 35-millimeter camera was superb, he appreciated light; he hardly ever used artificial light. His influence is with all of us.” – Robert Capa
Fabric shop in Guajaquil, Ecuador, 1958.
Eisenstaedt became known to millions worldwide through his work for LIFE Magazine, which he joined as one of the first four staff photographers in 1935 (when it was still Project X). His 86 covers and over 2500 assignments for LIFE have portrayed the earth-shaking events and influential people of the twentieth century, from the dignity of royalty to the elegance of movie stars, from the passion of scholars to the determination of diplomats.
Eisenstaedt has received numerous awards for his work including the National Medal of the Arts; the International Understanding Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Photographic Society of America Achievement Award; and Photographer of the Year, Encyclopaedia Britannica. Time magazine heralded Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day, Times Square,1945 as one of the ten greatest images in the history of photojournalism. The artist has also authored many books, including:
- Eisenstaedt’s Album, People
- The Eye of Eisenstaedt
- Witness To Our Time
- Eisenstaedt’s Guide to Photography
- Eisenstaedt’s Martha’s Vineyard
- Eisenstaedt: Remembrances
Prestigious museums and galleries have exhibited Eisenstaedt’s photographs, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the International Center of Photography (a retrospective), the Philadelphia College of Art, among others. Eisenstaedt’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Royal Photographic Society, London; the International Center of Photography, New York; the George Eastman House, Rochester; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.