A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks

"Photography was the way in which I could express my own feelings about racism in America, about the downtrodden. And somehow or another I might transcend my own experience. I live off of my emotions perhaps, you know. And so I had turned those emotions into some mercenary thing by which I could survive." - Gordon Parks, A Choice of Weapons

Gordon Parks was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Known widely for his work in photography, including two decades as the first Black staff photographer for Life magazine, Parks was also a composer, writer, and filmmaker. As a young man he applied his artistic talents to support and express himself and quickly  discovered the power of his creativity to shift mindsets and spark cultural and social change. From the 1940s up through the 2000s, Parks used images in magazines, books, and feature films to tell the stories of individuals and communities, the injustices they experienced and fought, and the dignity and humanity they maintained. This guide will support these goals:

*Introduce new audiences to Gordon Parks 
*Celebrate Gordon Parks as a photographer, author, filmmaker, and composer
*Recognize the artistic legacy of Gordon Parks through the work of contemporary artists 
*Examine the power of representation in the media and understand the evolution of the still image
*Strengthen your group’s facility and fluency with understanding photo essays
*Explore the capacity for art to create change

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