In a conversation about legendary photographer Gordon Parks, Actor Eriq LaSalle defined Parks as a man of inspiration; a renaissance man and a maverick who embodied integrity.
Parks was the type of man, LaSalle said, who didn’t ask anyone’s permission to do what needed to be done. He used the power of his images to infuse art with real life strife and by doing so he took the world through a photographic journey of the perils of his people at a difficult time.
On Saturday, Macys celebrated the life of Gordon Parks through a conversation at Lenox Square in Atlanta and a viewing of Parks iconic images of some of his most beloved works, such as American Gothic, Washington D.C. 1942. During the month of February, the tour will take places at cities across the US. You can check for the tour date in your city by clicking HERE.
Eric LaSalle and Arnika Dawkins of the Arnika Dawkins Gallery discussed the importance of Parks’ life work. He’s the man known for his iconic images that captured the essence of urban life during a time where his skin color captured more attention than his pictures at times. But Gordon Parks’ striking, groundbreaking photos eventually made everyone take notice.
“He shown a light in America and our culture that may not have been exposed,” said Dawkins whose gallery is currently showcasing Parks’ body of work.
His voice was his camera lens, LaSalle said. And the power of his images changed a generation. It’s that same type of ambition and voice that will bring about change today. And LaSalle said, Parks would be proud that reality shows like “All my Baby Mamas,” did not see the light of day. He said people have to fight in the same way that Parks did. And now social media is the medium that gives everyone a voice and the power to do so as evidenced by how the reality show was stopped in its tracks by an online petition.
He said Parks would be proud.
From his photographic essays for Life magazines to his legendary American Gothic painting, Parks is remembered for photography, film making, music composition, and writing. He also is known for his activism and campaigning for civil rights. He was the first African American to work at Life magazine and the first to write, direct, and score a Hollywood film. Parks was also co-founder of Essence magazine.
LaSalle, who is known for his role on ER as Dr. Benton and as Darryl in Coming to America, released a book called the Laws of Depravity, and plans to release a series and eventually convert his book series into a movie.
Parks’ work in being displayed in Atlanta at the Arnika Dawkins Gallery Located at 4600 Cascade Road, Atlanta, GA 30331. Arnika Dawkins Gallery is devoted to presenting fine art from both emerging and established photographers, specializing in images by African Americans and of African Americans.
Additionally, from February 1st through February 28th, visit macys.com/celebrate to enter for a chance to win a trip for two to The American Black Film Festival in Miami, courtesy of American Airlines, a $1000 Macy’s shopping spree and Gordon Parks: Collected Works, a five-volume set of his photography.
The Gordon Parks Foundation permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, makes it available to the public and supports artistic and educational activities. The Foundation is a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation. For more information visit gordonparksfoundation.org.
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Society. I was compensated as part of being a member of Everywhere society but all opinions expressed are solely mine.