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Arles 2013: –Gordon Parks


After first presenting it at Forma, in Milan, curator Alessandra Mauro has brought the work of American photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks to France for the first time. This is a classical retrospective, organised chronologically, with films and documentary, highlighting the social and political approach of one of the foremost black American photographers. While the colour documentary material is often surprising, we were less convinced of the need to include the fashion photography and portraits of famous personalities. However, we weren’t going to let this spoil our pleasure in finally seeing a full retrospective on Gordon Parks, who still hasn’t gained the recognition he deserves amongst the greats in documentary photography.

Born in 1912 in Fort Scott, a small Kansas town, he was the youngest child from a large poor family. His mother died when he was seventeen and he had to make his own way. He bought a second hand camera and began a career as an independent photographer at the age of twenty-five. The first black photographer to join the prestigious Farm Security Administration, he then joined the staff of reporters on Life magazine. He was also the originator of the Blaxploitation movement with his celebrated feature film Shaft.
Radically involved in the fight against racism, Gordon Parks documented the civil rights movement extensively.

Gordon Parks
From Monday 1st July to Sunday 22 September 2013
Magasin Électrique
13200 Arles
10 am – 7.30 pm
8 €

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