Mary Kay Lombino, Emily Hargroves Fisher 1957 and Richard B. Fisher Curator of Collections at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, discusses the exhibition on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center September 25 - December 13, 2015 entitled “Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument."
“Gordon Parks was one of America’s most significant social photographers, filmmakers, and writers of the twentieth century, and the first African-American photographer to work for Life magazine. In 1948, he began a professional relationship with Life that would last twenty-two years when he proposed a series of pictures about the gang wars that were then plaguing Harlem. Parks gained the trust of one group of gang members and their leader Red Jackson, producing photographs of them that are artful, emotive, poignant, and sometimes shocking. From this larger body of work, twenty-one pictures were selected for a photo essay in Life. The exhibition comprises forty-five prints alongside contact sheets, issues of the original publication, and related ephemera that both contextualize the images chosen for the story and suggest the ways in which the editorial process shapes the narrative arc."