Director Gordon Parks Dead at 93
White critics dismissed his work as "Blaxploitation," but Gordon Parks was a pioneer of Black Cinema and the first black director to be funded by a major studio. His most famous film was 1971's Shaft.
Elvis Mitchell talks about Gordon Parks' influence. Parks was a highly regarded photographer for Life and Vogue magazines before he went on to direct films.
Perhaps his most famous portrait occurred early in his career when he was working for the Farm Security Administration. "American Gothic" in 1942 depicts cleaning lady Ella Watson posed before the American flag holding a mop and broom; it is a bitter parody of Grant Wood's famed painting "American Gothic."In 2000, he told the Associated Press :
"I think most people can do a whole awful lot more if they just try. They just don't have the confidence that they can write a novel or they can write poetry or they can take pictures or paint or whatever, and so they don't do it, and they leave the planet dissatisfied with themselves." From Back StageParks died yesterday. You can read about his diverse talents and gifted life in the Chicago Tribune.