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Photographs by Gordon Parks (1912 – 2006)


Born in Fort Scott in Kansas, Parks' extraordinary legacy documenting social justice and discrimination in 20th century America as composer and filmmaker began at the age of 25 encountering photographs of migrant workers. Buying a Voigtländer Brillant camera for the princely sum of USD$7.50, his first encouraging forays led him to Chicago where he documented the city and its inhabitants. Roy Stryker, the director at the Farm Security Administration hired him in 1941, shortly after which he iconically captured racism and segregation in America's capital in his portrait American Gothic.

Parks went onto photograph the all-black 332nd Fighter Group as the FSA morphed into the Office for War Information, before following Stryker into Standard Oil, and later Vogue. A relationship with LIFE magazine ensued in the following decades between freelance work and authoring many notable works on photography. Parks remains the most prolific black photographer of the 20th century.

The Gordon Parks Foundation