I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racisme, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera.
Born in the racist South of the United States in 1912, Gordon Parks is the first African American to have acquired the status of renowned photographer. Passionate self-taught, he turns segregation into one of his favourite themes. Poverty, precariousness, Harlem gangs… When faced with difficult subjects, the artist always manages to capture the human on his reel.
His work quickly attracts the attention of the famous photojournalism magazine LIFE, with whom he collaborates for over twenty years. Through the issues, his lens immortalizes historical figures, from Muhammad Ali’s strength to Marilyn Monroe’s vulnerability.
Under the direction of Alexander Liberman, then editor at Condé Nast, he signs several shootings for VOGUE… who has never worked with a black photographer before. He brings a new perspective there: under his lens, the colours are vivid, the curves move and the models come to life.
Back in images on the career of a man whose talent managed to break codes, as much as stereotypes… •