Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was a groundbreaking American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. He is best remembered for his photo essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft.
A 1948 photo essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For 20 years, Parks produced photos on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, racial segregation, and portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. His 1961 photo essay on a poor Brazilian boy named Flavio da Silva, who was dying from bronchial pneumonia and malnutrition, brought donations that saved the boy's life and paid for a new home for his family
Parks is remembered for his activism, filmmaking, photography, and writings. He was the first African American to work at Life magazine, and the first to write, direct, and score a Hollywood film. He was profiled in the 1967 documentary "Weapons of Gordon Parks" by American filmmaker Warren Forma. Parks was a co-founder of Essence magazine and one of the early contributors to the blaxploitation genre.
Parks himself said that freedom was the theme of all of his work, Not allowing anyone to set boundaries, cutting loose the imagination and then making the new horizons.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia