Exhibition

Gordon Parks: I Am You. Selected Works 1942-1978

FOAM, Amsterdam, Netherlands
16 Jun 2017 - 06 Sep 2017

The invisible man, Harlem, New York, 1952 © Gordon Parks. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation

The legendary American photographer Gordon Parks described his camera as his “weapon of choice.”

The camera can be a powerful weapon against repression, racism, violence, and inequality. The American photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) used photography to expose the deep divisions in American society. Parks was an important champion of equal rights for African Americans and in his work addressed themes such as poverty, marginalisation and injustice. Aside from his iconic portraits of legends like Martin Luther King, he especially achieved fame through his photographic essays for the prestigious Life Magazine and films he directed, such as The Learning Tree and Shaft.

With the exhibition Gordon Parks –  I Am You. Selected Works 1942-1978, Foam presents 120 works from the collection of  The Gordon Parks Foundation, including vintage prints, contact sheets, magazines, and film excerpts.

Gordon Parks is best known for his black and white photographs, but he also produced a lot of work in colour. The exhibition includes many colour photographs as well as portraits, documentary photos and fashion photography. Excerpts from Parks’s films The Learning Tree and Shaft are also shown, which, in combination with the contact sheets and magazines containing his work, portray the social and political context in which he worked. It was a time in American history in which the African-American call for equality rocked the nation.

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