Gordon Parks’s early years — National Gallery






“American Gothic”
Photo by Gordon Parks

A National Gallery show examines Gordon Parks’s early years

 

He was the youngest of his father’s 15 children. He wrote in his high school yearbook that he wanted to be “a general or a Jazz Sheik.”
Gordon Parks fell short of those goals, but in the process of failing, he became a poet, novelist and memoirist; the inventor of a new genre of film; a pianist, composer and librettist; and one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. How did this happen?

By Sebastian Smee
Art critic