I have found a new hero. A documentary photographer hero. Not one of the brave ones who go off to photograph wars or the brave ones who photograph demonstrations or the brave ones who photograph natural disasters. This photographer was brave by going back to the places and people where he grew up and telling their story.
Gordon Parks was the first black photographer hired by LIFE magazine and as a result he had access to stories that white photographers could not unlock at the time. He was sent back to his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas, to cover school segregation. But he photographed something much deeper which had to do with his very own people. As a black photographer he was accepted there in a special way and allowed to document those people. He also looked up old classmates and friends he had gone to school with. When he interviewed them he asked about their struggles and their victories. He showed a side of black America that white Americans rarely had the opportunity to see.
This is what impresses me most about Gordon Parks: his willingness to go back to his home and talk to people and show the rest of the world what his life was like. As my last few posts have shown I also am attempting this by bringing Mexican life in front of American eyes. I am inspired by the way Gordon Parks did his photography and hope to do work of the same quality.
If you would like to read the original story and see Park's photographs, click here.
To read more about the exhibit, click here.