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GORDON PARKS
[1912 – 2006] American photographer, musician, writer and film director
The photographer begins to feel big and bloated and so big he can't walk through one of these doors because he gets a good byline; he gets notices all over the world and so forth; but they're really --the important people are the people he photographs. They are what make him. - Gordon Parks

I've been asked if I think there will ever come a time when all people come together. I would like to think there will. All we can do is hope and dream and work toward that end. And that's what I've tried to do all my life. - Gordon Parks

I've known both misery and happiness, lived in so many different skins it is impossible for one skin to claim me. And I have felt like a wayfarer on an alien planet at times — walking, running, wondering about what brought me to this particular place, and why. But once I was here the dreams started moving in, and I went about devouring them as they devoured me. - Gordon Parks

The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer. - Gordon Parks
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You know, the camera is not meant just to show misery. - Gordon Parks

If you don’t have anything to say, your photographs are not going to say much. - Gordon Parks

l want my children and children's children to be able to look at my pictures and know what my world was like. Even if it only helps a little bit toward this understanding, then I've done my job and done it well. - Gordon Parks

Think in terms of images and words. They can be mighty powerful when they are fitted together properly. - Gordon Parks

You have a 45mm automatic pistol on your lap, and I have a 35mm camera on my lap, and my weapon is just as powerful as yours. - Gordon Parks - To Black Panther militant Eldridge Cleaver

I have always felt as though I needed a weapon against evil. - Gordon Parks

I picked up a camera because it was my choice of weapon against what I hated most about the universe: racism, intolerance, poverty. I could have just as easily picked up a knife or gun, like many of my childhood friends did… - Gordon Parks

I was born to a black childhood of confusion and poverty. The memory of that beginning influences my work today, It is impossible now to photograph a hungry child without remembering the hunger of my old childhood. - Gordon Parks

What the camera had to do was expose the evils of racism, the evils of poverty, the discrimination and the bigotry, by showing the people who suffered most under it. - Gordon Parks

The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer. The important people are the people he photographs. They are what make him. - Gordon Parks

I had known poverty firsthand, but there I learned how to fight its evil—along with the evil of racism—with a camera. - Gordon Parks

The funny and sad thing is that photography is an art, but these guys have such an inferiority complex about it that all they do is tag on gold-plate words where they aren’t needed. If they’d only let it talk for itself. - Gordon Parks

You know, the camera is not meant just to show misery. You can show beauty with it; you can do a lot of things. You can show—with a camera you can show things that you like about the universe, things you hate about the universe. It's capable of doing both. And I think that after nearly 85 years upon this planet that I have a right after working so hard at showing the desolation and the poverty, to show something beautiful as well. It’s all there, and you've only done half the job if you don’t do that. - Gordon Parks

We must give up silent watching and put our commitments into practice. We need miracles now, I am afraid. If only we could understand the needs of our past, then perhaps we could anticipate our future. We cannot get too comfortable in our houses. Wolves still roam the woods. The hawk still hangs in the air. And restless generals still talk of death in their secret rooms. - Gordon Parks

I have for a long time, worked under the premise that everyone is worth something; that every life is valuable to our own existence. Consequently, I’ve felt it was my camera’s responsibility to shed light on any condition that hinders growth or warps the spirit of those trapped in the ruinous evils of poverty... To me they were ghosts of my own past. - Gordon Parks

..I feel it’s the heart, not the eye, that should determine the content of the photograph. What the eye sees is its own. What the heart can perceive is a very different matter. - Gordon Parks

I thought then [1941], and Roy Stryker eventually proved it to me, that you could not photograph a person who turns you away from the motion picture window, or someone who refuses to feed you, or someone who refuses to wait on you in a store. You could not photograph him and say “This is a bigot,” because bigots have a way of looking like everybody else. - Gordon Parks

I want my children and my children’s children to be able to look at my pictures and know what my world was like. Even if it only helps a little bit toward this understanding, then I’ve done my job and done it well. - Gordon Parks

I must attempt to transcend the limitations of my own experience by sharing, as deeply as possible, the problems of those I photograph. - Gordon Parks

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