A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
Reviews of photography products that enhance the enjoyment of taking pictures. Published frequently but irregularly.
4 February 2013
To celebrate Black History Month, Macy's announced a series of events highlighting the career of Gordon Parks. The Gordon Parks: Black American Icon events will be held at 14 of its stores in Atlanta, Bowie, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. during February.
Gordon Parks: Black American Icon events at Macy's will consist of a variety of celebrations. Featuring photographic installations of Gordon Parks' iconic images, "In Conversation" events moderated by representatives from The Gordon Parks Foundation and American Black Film Festival, "The Learning Tree" children's events and Soul Jam music, dance presentations, Macy's stores will examine, honor and celebrate the many arts-based accomplishments of this unique American icon.
Parks was the first African-American to work as a staff photographer for Life magazine, covering everything from racism to Paris fashions for over 20 years before becoming the first African-American to produce and direct a major Hollywood film, "The Learning Tree." He went on to direct "Shaft" and "Shaft's Big Score!"
His career got its start when, working as a waiter on the North Coast Limited train running between Chicago and Seattle, he picked up a magazine left by a passenger. The magazine gave him his first glimpse of the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers Jack Delano, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Ben Shahn. "I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs," he remembered. "I knew at that point I had to have a camera."
He got that camera, a Voightlander Brilliant for $12.50, at a pawn shop in Seattle. A few months later, his pictures were exhibited in Kodak's Minneapolis store windows, leading to professional work taking society portraits and fashion photos. That early success with no professional training convinced him he could succeed at whatever he tried. And for 93 years, he proved it until he passed away in March 2006.
Details are in the press release below.
Macy's Salutes Gordon Parks, an American Master, in Celebration of Black History Month
Macy's, in partnership with The Gordon Parks Foundation and the American Black Film Festival, honors Gordon Parks with a series of special events at select Macy's stores nationwide
NEW YORK -- From one icon to another, this February Macy's, an American retail institution, salutes American cultural hero Gordon Parks in celebration of Black History Month. Via special events and exhibits at select stores across the country, Macy's will honor the legacy of this artistic master who chronicled and defined a generation and whose work continues to inspire artists today.
A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. From the early 1940s until his death in 2006, Parks created a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights and urban life. In addition, Parks was a celebrated composer, author and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era -- from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes. In 1969 he became the first African-American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film based on his bestselling novel "The Learning Tree." This was followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture "Shaft."
"Macy's is thrilled to partner with The Gordon Parks Foundation and the American Black Film Festival to honor the legacy and work of famed artistic master Gordon Parks," said Dineen Garcia, Macy's vice president of diversity strategies. "Exemplary Americans like Gordon Parks serve to inspire generations with a rich legacy of achievement that crosses boundaries and continues to inform and inspire the work of those who follow in their footsteps. From photography to film and music, Gordon Parks is the perfect American hero to honor during Black History Month celebrations at Macy's."
"The Gordon Parks Foundation is pleased to partner with Macy's to celebrate the centennial of Gordon Parks for Black History Month. Parks' genius was based on the respect and trust he brought to his subjects not only through the lens of his camera but through his own personal story. Macy's is committed to keeping icons like Gordon Parks in the public eye to inspire future generations," said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. executive director, The Gordon Parks Foundation.
"The American Black Film Festival is honored to be a part of the celebration of Gordon Parks," said Jeff Friday, CEO of The Film Life Inc. and founder of the American Black Film Festival. "Gordon Parks had a profound impact on the arts as the first African-American to work at LIFE magazine and the first to write, direct and score a Hollywood film ("Shaft," 1971). He was a true renaissance man; a celebrated photographer, musician, writer and film director who captured some of America's most captivating images and told some of American history's most compelling stories through his lens. We are proud to be part of this tribute to him this Black History Month."
Gordon Parks: Black American Icon events at Macy's will consist of a variety of celebrations. Featuring photographic installations of Gordon Parks' iconic images, "In Conversation" events moderated by representatives from The Gordon Parks Foundation and American Black Film Festival, "The Learning Tree" children's events and Soul Jam music, dance presentations, Macy's stores will examine, honor and celebrate the many arts-based accomplishments of this unique American icon. Taking place at 14 Macy's locations nationwide including stores in Atlanta, Bowie, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., each store will offer one or more of these event elements. The "In Conversation" discussions will focus on Gordon Parks' influence on film and the future of African-American cinema. Featured speakers at select locations will include actors Omari Hardwick ("For Colored Girls ," "Sparkle"), Eriq La Salle ("ER"), Lamman Rucker ("Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns," "Why Did I Get Married?"), Terrell Tilford ("Soul Food," "One Life To Live"), Malinda Williams ("A Thin Line Between Love and Hate," "Soul Food") and Malik Yoba ("NY Undercover," "Why Did I Get Married?").
The "Children's Learning Tree" events held in conjunction with The Reading Circle, will highlight Parks' literary life as children build their own unique books. Finally, the artist's musical legacy will get the party started with special Soul Jam events geared toward a younger generation. Featuring DJ's and dancers, the Soul Jam sessions will highlight the "Shaft" era in music for a new audience.
From Feb. 1 to 28, visitors to macys.com/celebrate will be offered the opportunity to enter for the chance to win a trip for two to the American Black Film Festival in Miami and a $1000 Macy's shopping spree courtesy of American Airlines. (Please visit http://www.macys.com/celebrate for complete entry rules or visit the event store for more information.)
Below are the stores and select event information for Macy's -- Gordon Parks: Black American Icon celebrations:
Macy's Herald Square, New York: Feb. 7
Macy's Pleasanton Stoneridge, San Francisco: Feb. 8
Macy's Downtown Brooklyn, New York: Feb. 9
Macy's Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles: Feb. 9
Macy's Northland Center, Detroit: Feb. 9
Macy's Center City, Philadelphia: Feb. 13
Macy's State Street, Chicago: Feb. 14
Macy's Lenox Square, Atlanta: Feb 16
Macy's Metro Center, Washington, D.C.: Feb. 21
Macy's Union Square, San Francisco: Feb. 21
Macy's Galleria at Hidalgo, Houston: Feb. 21
Macy's Downtown Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh: Feb. 23
Macy's Bowie Town Center, Bowie, MD: Feb. 23
Macy's Aventura, Miami: Feb. 23
For a complete listing of Macy's Black History Month events, visit http://www.macys.com/celebrate.