Pictured above are works from the upcoming Gordon Parks Exhibit.
El Reno, Okla. - - The Redlands Community College Art Gallery is featuring the finalists and winners of the 25th annual "Gordon Parks International Photo Competition" from Feb. 3 to March 6. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. excluding holidays. The exhibit is comprised of 16 photographs chosen from over 100 works submitted. The exhibit is on loan from Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kan., where the Gordon Parks International Photography Contest is held each year. Photographs submitted had to reflect the important themes in the life and works of Gordon Parks.
The Gordon Parks International Photo Competition honors Fort Scott native Gordon Parks, a well-known photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer. Parks, who passed away in March of 2006 at the age of 93, was born and raised in Fort Scott, leaving at the age of 15. Parks went on to achieve several first: the first black photographer for Life Magazine and the first black director to direct a major motion picture, The Learning Tree. One of the 25 films placed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1989, The Learning Tree was filmed in Fort Scott. Parks also broke new ground with a hip black hero on the silver screen named Shaft. He went on to direct other films, to author several books, and to write original musical compositions, film scores, and a ballet titled Martin, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
He established his reputation as a world-renowned photojournalist for Life Magazine, chronicling the Civil Rights movement for two decades. His work for Vogue Magazine established him as a master of fashion photography. A major retrospective exhibit of Parks' work, Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 1998 and toured across the United States. HBO produced a documentary on Parks, also titled Half Past Autumn.
Parks received the National Medal of Arts in 1988 and has received more than 50 honorary doctorates. He lived in New York City most of his life and published his fifth autobiography, The Hungry Heart, and a book of poetry, Eyes with Winged Thoughts in November of 2005.
Each year, the photo competition receives entries from amateur and professional photographers from around the world. The entries are judged by the photography staff of Life Magazine, with the final group of 15-18 photographs judged by Parks family members and Life staff. This year's contest was judged by Life Magazine photo editor, Barbara Baker Burrows and David Parks, son of Gordon Parks. The winners and honorable mentions receive cash prizes totaling over $800.