Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950, Exhibition Catalog

Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950, Exhibition Catalog

# 750196

NGA Produced


In Stock




Edited by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. and Philip Brookman. Foreword by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. and Earl A. Powell III. Introduction by Sarah Lewis. Text by Maurice Berger, Philip Brookman, Richard J. Powell, and Deborah Willis.

Accompanying the National Gallery of Art exhibition Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950, this catalog brings together photographs and publications made during the first and most formative decade of Gordon Parks's 65-year career. Focusing on new research and access to forgotten pictures, The New Tide documents the importance of these years in shaping the photographer's passionate vision.


During the 1940s Parks's photographic ambitions grew to express a profound understanding of his cultural and political experiences. From the first photographs he published in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and his relationship to the Chicago Black Renaissance, to his mentorship with Roy Stryker and his breakthrough work for America's influential picture magazines—including Ebony and Life—this book traces Parks's rapid evolution from an accomplished, self-taught practitioner to a groundbreaking artistic and journalistic voice.


Gordon Parks was born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912. An itinerant laborer, he worked as a brothel pianist and railcar porter, among other jobs, before buying a camera at a pawnshop, training himself and becoming a photographer. During his storied tenures photographing for the Farm Security Administration (1941–1945) and Life magazine (1948–1972), Parks evolved into a modern-day Renaissance man, finding success as a film director, writer and composer. The first African American director to helm a major motion picture, he helped launch the blaxploitation genre with his film Shaft (1971). He wrote numerous memoirs, novels and books of poetry, and received many awards, including the National Medal of Arts, and more than 50 honorary degrees. Parks died in 2006.

  • Hardcover
  • 9.75 x 11.5 inches
  • 304 pages, 42 color and 126 b+w illustrations
  • Published: 2018

Editorial Reviews

"Gordon Parks—perhaps more than any artist—saw poverty as 'the most savage of all human afflictions' and realized the power of empathy to help us understand it." —Maurice Berger, The New York Times

"A new book examines Gordon Parks’s transformation over the formative decade before his time as the first black staff photographer at Life magazine." —James Estrin, The New York Times

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