We’re featuring biographies all month long and today we’re sharing the story of African American photographer Gordon Parks. The youngest of fifteen, he came from humble beginnings and as a teenager, he had to work various odd jobs to support himself. He made the decision one day to buy a used camera and he taught himself to use it well enough to have his first show within a month’s time. Parks had an illustrious career as a photographer including documentary work for the government and shooting for Vogue and LIFE, but the most defining photograph of his career was American Gothic, one that exposed the struggles of racism and the unfairness of segregation to the nation. Later in life he became a kind of renaissance man — “writing novels and poetry, composing music and writing and directing films.” He was bestowed countless awards in his lifetime for his humanitarian work.
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America was written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph and published by Albert Whitman.