Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 traces his rapid evolution from an accomplished, self-taught practitioner to an independent and renowned artistic voice. The earliest of these photographs, all of which are culled from private, archival, and museum collections throughout the United States, were made for regional African American newspapers, local organizations, and clients’ family albums. Parks’s photographs appeared in significant exhibitions and international picture magazines, and by 1950 Life sent him to Paris to head its picture bureau there. This fi rst decade of his profession and his rapid rise to prominence have never before been explored in such detail as in this volume and the exhibition. For Parks, who was also a musician, composer, poet, writer, and filmmaker, his creativity brought with it a fuller, more poignant understanding of the world, and his photographs from that time have endured as a testament to the storied career of one of America’s most illustrious photographers.

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