Obituary: Gordon Parks, 93
Photographer, filmmaker, composer and writer Gordon Parks died at his home in Manhattan on March 7. He was 93.
Parks' work as the first African-American staff photographer for Life magazine brought his photography to the world, but he expressed his vision in many ways, writing novels, poetry, memoirs, music and screenplays.
Among his countless awards and accolades, Professional Photographers of America presented Parks with the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. He is shown here receiving the award from PPA's current President-elect Jack Reznicki.
"Gordon Parks was always an inspiration to me since high school when I read his autobiography, 'The Learning Tree.' To me it's a must-read for any photography student or any student of our American history and the American experience," said Reznicki.
"I was fortunate to meet Mr. Parks several times," Reznicki recalled. "Even at an event like the International Center for Photography's Infinity Awards that always draws a who's who in the photo world, Mr. Parks was always the one who parted the seas of people where ever he walked. The large room full of 'name' photographers, artists, editors, and dignitaries always seemed to revolve around him. And rightfully so. He was the real deal. A photographer, a poet, a filmmaker, an author, a painter, a true renaissance man. When he would lean over and whisper something to Arnold Newman, the only other photographer of Gordon's level, it seemed as the world stood still.
"I once heard that the only thing that remains of great civilizations after they are long gone is the artwork. Mr Park's legacy will live on for a very long time," said Reznicki.
"As a photographer, he overcame incredible odds to become not only successful, but legendary. Into his 90s, becoming frail and less mobile, Mr. Parks continued to photograph. He turned his camera to still lifes in his apartment. proving that great photographers photograph because they need to photograph. And our world is richer for his passing through and taking a few shots to share with us."