Writing - The Gordon Parks Foundation

Unknown Photographer, Gordon Parks, c. 1946

While his best-known work was as a photographer and filmmaker, Parks was an accomplished writer of memoirs, poetry, and novels, publishing twenty books in his lifetime; writing was in fact his most personal and intimate form of expression throughout his life. As a staff photographer for Life, Parks was periodically asked to contribute articles, many of which accompanied his photo essays—an unusual role for any photographer.

Some of Parks’s earliest published works include two books on photography techniques. In 1963 he published The Learning Tree, a semiautobiographical account of a Black boy growing up in segregated Kansas. The book was later adapted into a Hollywood feature film six years later, which Parks wrote, directed, and scored. The Learning Tree was followed by the autobiography A Choice of Weapons (1966) and then by A Poet and His Camera (1968), a collection of poetry with color photographs. In 1971, Parks published Born Black, which featured nine essays he wrote for Life accompanied by a selection of photographs. Following several published memoirs and autobiographies, Parks published Glimpses Towards Infinity and Arias In Silence, which showcased his later abstract photographic work alongside his writing.

Parks continued to author works throughout his life, spending several of his last years researching the life of the English Romanticist painter Joseph Mallord William Turner on whom his final novel, The Sun Stalker, a work of historical fiction, is based.


The Learning Tree - English Edition

The Learning Tree - Spanish Edition

The Learning Tree - German Edition

The Learning Tree - Dutch Edition

The Learning Tree - Danish Edition

A Choice of Weapons - English Edition

A Choice of Weapons - German Edition

Born Black


To Smile in Autumn


The Sun Stalker

Voices in the Mirror

A Hungry Heart


*Flash Photography. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1947

*Camera Portraits: Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture. New York: Franklin Watts, 1948

*The Learning Tree. New York: Harper & Row, 1963

*A Choice of Weapons. New York: Harper & Row, 1966

*Gordon Parks: A Poet and His Camera. New York: Viking, 1968

*Born Black. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1971

*Gordon Parks: In Love. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1971

*Gordon Parks: Whispers of Intimate Things. New York: Viking, 1971

*Moments Without Proper Names. New York: Viking, 1975

*Flavio. New York: W.W. Norton, 1978

*To Smile in Autumn. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979

*Shannon. Boston: Little, Brown, 1981

*Voices in the Mirror. New York: Doubleday, 1990

*Arias in Silence. Boston: Bulfinch, 1994

*Glimpses Toward Infinity. Boston: Little Brown, 1996

*Half Past Autumn. Boston: Bulfinch, 1997

*A Star for Noon: An Homage to Women in Images, Poetry, and Music. Boston: Bulfinch, 2000

*The Sun Stalker. New York: Ruder Finn, 2003

*Eyes with Winged Thoughts. New York: Atria, 2005

*A Hungry Heart. New York: Washington Square, 2005