Gordon Parks: Half and the Whole

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Jack Shainman Gallery presents some of Parks’ most iconic images, and a selection of rarely-exhibited work, at both its New York locations

“At first I wasn’t sure that I had the talent, but I did know I had a fear of failure, and that fear compelled me to fight off anything that might abet it” – Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

As a photographer, film director, composer, and author, Parks was a visionary. His images, which documented the effects of racial segregation, the civil rights movement, and everday experiences of Black people living in America, are as relevant now as they were at the time of their making.

In collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation, Jack Shainman Gallery presents some of Parks’ most iconic images, along with a selection from the photographer’s rarely-exhibited colour work.

On view at the gallery’s 20th Street space in Chelsea is a selection of works from Parks’ most iconic series, Invisible Man and Segregation Story. Many of the images have rarely been exhibited before and exemplify Parks’ masterful use of color to capture the Black experience in America. A few streets down, in the gallery’s 24th Street space, are Parks’ images of protest, and portraits of leaders in the fight for social justice and racial equality. Among them are Malcolm X, Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, and Muhammad Ali.

Eight months since the murder of George Floyd, and over 50 years since many of the images were made, Parks’ work still resonates strongly. For many, Parks was more than just an observer. He was a chronicler of history, and through his lens, captured the humanity in the struggles against oppression and discrimination, which exist to this day.

Gordon Parks: Half and the Whole is currently on show at Jack Shainman Gallery.

Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.