A Prosaic Approach to Civil Rights Images by Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was a prolific and brilliant photographer, musician, director and writer.  He is best known as the director of seminal “blaxploitation” film, Shaft (1971), and as a photo-essayist for LIFE magazine, where he produced photographs on subjects such as Muhammad Ali, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and Barbara Streisand, as well as fashion and sport.

Perhaps his most important, and interesting contributions, however, were his images documenting racial segregation and the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s.

This article in the New York Times is a celebration of some 70 previously unseen photographs from the 1956 The Restraints: Open and Hidden photo-essay, for LIFE, recently discovered by the Gordon Parks Foundation. They are powerful, quiet, intense. Dignified and beautiful. A fascinating and essential alternative to the more widely published and frequently brutal images that record that tumultuous and violent period.

Parks would have been 100 this year and in celebration the Schomburg Center, NYC, is exhibiting 100 his photographs.

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