Gordon Parks (1912–2006) was a pioneering figure in 20th-century photography. As well as being the first African-American photographer to join the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and to become a staff photographer for Life magazine, he was also a writer, film director and composer.
Although best known for documenting issues such as poverty, race relations and civil rights, Gordon Parks was remarkably versatile, turning his gift for visual narrative to subjects as diverse as news coverage, fashion, art and sport. He also captured prominent figures of his era, from Malcolm X to Marilyn Monroe, in a series of memorable portraits. Working in the US and around the world, he was driven by a commitment to social justice: ‘The common search for a better life and a better world is deeper than colour or blood.’