With the world relentlessly mourning the death of Superman's wife an american legacy has been swept under our star spangled carpet. Artist Gordon Parks passed away, and good luck trying to find a mention of it from the national television media. A modern day renassiance man who left an imprint on virtually all artistic mediums died, Tuesday at the ripe old age of 93. We mourn a woman who without a doubt contributed something to society, but has she accomplished or given as much as Parks? Some will argue that Parks' legacy is one that is restricted to a smaller fan base, and that Dana Reeve...well was the wife of Christopher Reeve. We all felt so horrible for Reeve when he was paralyzed, and he consumed headlines then and at the time of his death. We forgot one thing. Reeve had a wonderful life before his accident. He was FUCKING SUPERMAN, but we all choke back the tears because his handsome face is now covered with tubes for breathing. He lived a life before his death that most people never even dream of. Not to take anything away from the devastation that the Reeve family has endured, but lets looks at some other american "icons." Look at Gordon Parks.
USA TODAY OBIT:
Gordon Parks, an American legend
By Jym Wilson, USA TODAY
Gordon Parks looked like an artist.
"Nothing came easy," Parks wrote in his autobiography. "I was just born with a need to explore every tool shop of my mind."
By Marsha Halper, Miami Herald via AP
With his shock of white hair, grand mustache and seemingly ever-present pipe, Parks was a 20th-century Renaissance man. He worked as a photojournalist, fashion photographer, filmmaker, composer, novelist, poet and painter. (Related story: Parks' unique American perspective)
But Parks, who died Tuesday at age 93, was best known for his compassionate yet gritty 1940s documentary photography of the lives of black Americans — first with the post-Depression Farm Services Administration and then with Life magazine. At the same time, he was shooting high fashion for Vogue magazine as a contemporary of the likes of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
He also was a film pioneer, becoming the first African-American to direct a film for a major studio in 1969. The Learning Tree, a drama, was based on his 1963 autobiographical novel about growing up in Kansas in the 1920s. He also wrote the script and the score.
In a considerable departure, Parks' next movie was Shaft. The 1971 hit starring Richard Roundtree as hip detective John Shaft is considered a classic of the blaxploitation genre. And it of course featured the catchy theme song by Isaac Hayes, which won an Academy Award. He made several more films, including Shaft sequel Shaft's Big Score.
In 1998, the Parks photographic retrospective Half Past Autumn was mounted and toured the country for years. In 2000, it attracted "flocks" of visitors to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, says executive director Charmaine Jefferson. A former New York City cultural affairs commissioner and head of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, she says she spent a memorable evening with Parks listening to music he composed for a ballet.
She says he will go down as "one of the great photographers of our time" but also will be remembered for his music, his writing, his films, even his costumes. "He was so multitalented," she says. "He could do it all. And we were so proud of him."
Parks himself was always striving. In a 1998 interview with PBS' Newshour, he said: "My life to me is like sort of a disjointed dream. ... It was a constant effort, a constant feeling that I must not fail, and I still have that. ... There's another horizon out there, one more horizon that you have to make for yourself and let other people discover it."
Contributing: Maria Puente
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