Tuesday, March 7, 2006
"Nothing came easy," Parks wrote in his autobiography. "I was just born with a need to explore every tool shop of my mind."
Parks, who died Tuesday at age 93, was best known for his compassionate yet gritty 1940s documentary photography of the lives of African Americans — first with the post-Depression Farm Services Administration and then with Life magazine.
At the same time, he was shooting high fashion for Vogue magazine as a contemporary of the likes of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
He also was a film pioneer, becoming the first African American to direct a film for a major studio in 1969. The Learning Tree, a drama, was based on his 1963 autobiographical novel about growing up in Kansas in the 1920s. He also wrote the script and the score.
How many giants are we going to lose this year? Octavia Butler, the widow of Christopher Reeve and now this. I think this just confirms why we have to be more active in stepping up to the challenge of filling in the gaps with our own examples.
- c a webb
He truly was an amazingly gifted man, the world will miss him sorely.
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