Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

The Other Side of Gordon Parks

A new exhibition reconsiders the legendary photographer's fashion and portrait work.

 - January 12, 2018

“Even from the beginning, Parks challenged prevailing rules about how to photograph fashion, including objects, group poses and streetscapes that beckoned with the allure of a desired lifestyle or career,” writes the photography historian Deborah Willis of Gordon Parks. A new exhibition at Jack Shainman Gallery, Gordon Parks: I Am You, Part 1, displays Parks’s fashion work from the 1950s and ’60s along with portraits of artists in their studios—Helen Frankenthaler, Alexander Calder, and Alberto Giacometti, to name a few. Parks, who is best known for his velvety black-and-white photographs of the civil rights era, was also an innovative fashion photographer, often taking to New York’s streets for his atmospheric shoots. His artist portraits, however, are quiet and considered, letting the artists disappear into their creations.

Gordon Parks: I Am You, Part 1 is on view at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, through February 10, 2018.