The Gordon Parks First Camera Story

February 3, 2017 By

Gordon Parks First Camera Bought in Seattle

There’s an incredible story of synchronicity when it comes to the famous multi-potentialite Gordon Parks. Most know him as a photographer, but he was also a writer, filmmaker, musician, poet and composer. He was a pioneer in many fields including being the first African-American to produce and direct major motion pictures (including the 1971 film Shaft).

When I was first starting out in professional photography, I was studying a “photography great” every single day. I’d read their books, study their images, and learn about who they were and what inspired them.

In the midst of that exploration, I attended a photography conference in New Orleans and we did a photo walk and then tour of a local photography shop and bookstore. I got to talking with the owner of the store who had been there for decades and knew many of the “greats” personally.

I shared about my tasra365 learning project and listened to his stories about famous photographers and images they captured. I was fascinated and thankful and walked out of that place inspired and energized.

A few hours later, my friend Rachel LaCour, who was a friend of the owner, came by my hotel room to give me a gift. It was a pristine copy of Gordon Parks’ hard cover book Half Past Autumn. Tears came close to spilling out of my eyes and my heart felt like it would beat out of my chest. It was a gift from the owner to continue to inspire me on my journey.

So as I looked for quotes to add to #the100dayproject and found this one about Gordon Parks getting his first camera in Seattle, I knew I had to use it.

Image captured at the edge of the water in Gas Works Park, Seattle with a stunning view of the city skyline and the Space Needle.