Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks, 1990

American photographer, musician, writer and film director Gordon Parks was born on this day, November 30, in 1912 (d. 2006). Known for his U.S. documentary photojournalism, Parks was the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures – developing films relating the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans, and creating the “blaxploitation” genre. He is best remembered for his iconic photos of poor Americans during the 1940s (taken for a federal government project), for his photographic essays for LIFE magazine, and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft. Parks also was an author, poet and composer. Karsh noted of their Sitting: “My gifted colleague did what is most difficult for a photographer – he put aside his expertise and became a collaborator on the other side of the camera.”