Gordon Parks

Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s—particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans—and in glamour photography. Discover our vast collection of Parks images today.

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Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was one of the most groundbreaking figures in 20th century photography. His photojournalism during the 1940s to the 1970s reveals important aspects of American culture, and he became known for focusing on issues of civil rights, poverty, race relations and urban life.

The youngest of 15 children, Parks was born into poverty and segregation in 1912 in Kansas and throughout his early life was subjected to abject discrimination. It wasn’t until he was 25 that he first picked up a camera. Parks was working as a waiter in a railroad dining car, and was moved to buy his first camera after looking at photographs in the magazines left by customers. The self-taught photographer went from job to job traveling across America to find work and landed on his feet as a freelance photographer at Vogue and soon after as a staff photographer at LIFE magazine. Despite constantly battling ingrained racist attitudes of the time, it was during these years that he produced his most iconic photographic essays.

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Segregation in the South - Series

Gordon Parks - Department Store - Segregation in the South, Colored Entrance - FineArt Vendor
Gordon Parks - Department Store - Segregation in the South, Colored Entrance - FineArt Vendor

Gordon Parks - COLORED ENTRANCE, Segregation in the South


Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)

'Segregation in the South'
Depicting a woman and child standing below a neon sign reading 'Colored Entrance'

Print in Colors

12" x 12" (Image Size)


This photograph was part of Gordon Parks’s 1956 photo essay for Life Magazine documenting the life of the Thornton family under segregation in Alabama. The essay served as crucial documentation of the Jim Crow South and acted as a national platform for challenging racial inequality. However, his images look quite different from many other iconic civil rights photographs. In an era when the primary medium for documentary photography was black-and-white film, Parks instead chose to present these quiet images of domestic life in full color.
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