Gordon Parks

Nicholas Metivier Gallery presents the first Canadian exhibition for the internationally acclaimed artist Gordon Parks (1912 – 2006). A preeminent photographer, poet, novelist, composer, and filmmaker, Parks was one of the most prolific and diverse American artists of the 20th century.

Born in Kansas, Parks was one of 15 children and faced the hardships of poverty and bigotry in his formative years. Defying the odds of his circumstances, Parks purchased his first camera in 1937 and gained recognition for his talent as a photographer. In 1948, Parks became the first African-American to shoot for Life magazine, a career that spanned two decades. Initially hired for his skill in fashion, it became quickly apparent that it was social justice that motivated him most.

Parks had a unique ability to connect with his subjects. He gained their trust and respect and portrayed them with a compassion and intimacy rarely seen. His photo essay on the daily life of a Harlem gang leader was a breakthrough—both for Parks and Life readers.

This exhibition features a survey of his works, including some of his most renowned portraits, and photographs for Life magazine. The works reflect Parks’ cross-cultural, poetic, and humanistic vision.