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.
Gordon Parks - I Am You. Selected Works 1942-1978 presents the work of a fabulous storyteller. Parks carved out a place for underexposed topics during a turbulent time in the United States. He stands out for his open attitude to the various groups making up a fiercely divided America. Through the striking narrative imagery of his photos and his films, Parks managed to connect with a wide and diverse audience.