A camera does not just shoot images. It is a powerful instrument against oppression, racism, violence and inequality.Gordon Parks has described the camera as his choice of weapon, and his life has used the medium of photography intelligently and enlighteningly to show the shadows of the American way of life and to mediate between the groups of a fragmented society. As an important chronicler of the struggle for equality of African Americans he treated issues such as poverty, exclusion and injustice that have lost none of its urgency.
Gordon Parks portrayed with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali, the protagonists of the American Civil Rights Movement as well as famous artists such as Duke Ellington, Ingrid Bergman and Alberto Giacometti. In the 1940s and 1950s, he produced modest stretches for Condé Nast and Life. At the same time he photographed the segregation in the American South as well as the unrest of the young people in Harlem. In addition to his more famous film works The Learning Tree and Shaft, he produces numerous social-critical documentaries. This simultaneity of glamor and misery, commercialism and humanitarianism the work of Gordon Parks offers an unparalleled visual social history of the United States in the 20th century.
With its unique style and versatile talent Gordon Parks has not only overcome stereotypes, but also thematically borders within the Professional photography. The content of his work shows a constant transformer of the media. He was interested in individual and isolatable transient moments as well as in a linear narrative structure. He developed the principle of image sequence in order to be able to show human behavior or social conditions as repetitive sequences.Individual events give Gordon Parks a temporal extension, so they become a hybrid of static and moving image. He shot pictures as a cameraman, composed images as a musician and classified them as a poet into sentences and stories which speak volumes about the people portrayed.
The in collaboration with Gordon Parks Foundation presented exhibit includes about 180 photographs with vintage prints, contact sheets , Magazines and films, and relates his photographic and cinematic work. An accompanying catalog is published by Steidl Verlag and the Gordon Parks Foundation.