Una Storia Americana




Gordon Parks is a narrator who is unique in America, able with his camera and his ability to understand and dig deep into society’s recesses, to reveal injustices and abuses of power, to bring to light the stories of those who have no voice to broadcast them for themselves. One of the twentieth century’s most significant photographers, from the 1940s until his death in 2006, Parks showed the world, particularly through the pages of Life magazine, the difficulty of being Black in a world of whites, segregation, poverty, prejudice. But also some of the great protagonists of the twentieth century, the world of fashion and even the great figures in a world that was radically changing, including Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali and Martin Luther King. Highly eclectic (he was already referred to as “Renaissance Man” by the time he was working for Life magazine), as well as a photographer, Parks was also a director, writer, musician, poet and while his work may defy simple classification, perhaps the key to understanding it best is as that of a professional narrator, the traditional storyteller drawing on his own experience of living and suffering to create his stories. Throughout his career, Gordon Parks attempted to tell many stories, illustrating them with exemplary images. Stories of groups fighting for survival, small communities isolated from the world, people on the edge or those already in the spotlight who need, however, to be better understood. True or merely plausible, generated by deep drama, viewed from his own experience as ex Black boy condemned to die before being born or constructed with the alchemy of pure make-believe, Gordon Parks’ stories are without exception genuinely felt, recounted as authentic visions born of the desire to have a bearing on reality, affirming through this tale told in images his own opinion and the need to shout it to the world. The exhibition held at Forma is the largest European retrospective to be dedicated to his work, to his profound poetry, to his classic, powerful and highly cinematographic photography. The catalogue is published by Contrasto.

Link to Contrasto