Gordon Parks: The Renaissance Man Who Defied All Odds

Saint Louis In Tune

Sep 23 2023 • 37 mins

Kirk Sharp, the Executive Director of the Gordon Parks Museum, discusses his background and involvement with the museum. He shares becoming the Executive Director and highlights the importance of continuous learning and growth. The conversation then shifts to the impact of Gordon Parks on the community, focusing on his approach to photography and his use of the camera as a weapon against poverty, racism, and discrimination.

We also discuss Parks' personal connection to Fort Scott and his accomplishments in various fields. The episode concludes with information about the annual Gordon Parks celebration and contact details for the museum.

Involvement with the museum [00:02:01] Kirk discusses his background in healthcare and how he became involved with the Gordon Parks Museum.

Lack of awareness about Gordon Parks [00:04:00] Growing up, not many people in the community knew about Gordon Parks and his impact.

Resistance to filming in Fort Scott [00:06:11] Resistance from businesses and some community members to filming "The Learning Tree" in Fort Scott.

Gordon Parks' use of photography as a weapon [00:09:57] Discussion on how Gordon Parks harnessed poverty, racism, and discrimination in his work.

Gordon Parks' technique of building personal relationships [00:11:06] Explanation of how Gordon Parks took time to connect with people and be invited into their lives before taking their photographs.

Gordon Parks' approach to photojournalism [00:17:45] Insight into Gordon Parks' respect for his subjects and his focus on capturing photos that tell a story.

The importance of Gordon's work [00:18:10] Discussion on how Gordon Parks harnessed his work for the subject matter, not for his own ego.

Gordon's perseverance and overcoming obstacles [00:19:12] Exploration of the challenges and barriers Gordon Parks faced in his life and the message of perseverance and moving forward.

Gordon's self-taught musical talents [00:20:50] Insight into Gordon Parks' ability to play the piano by ear and his unique technique of writing down slashes and numbers to represent the keys on the keyboard.

Gordon Parks' talent and drive [00:26:50] Discussion about Gordon Parks' natural talent and drive to excel in any field he pursued.

Gordon Parks' extensive contacts and friendships [00:28:09] Overview of the influential people Gordon Parks had connections with, including presidents, celebrities, and civil rights activists.

The legacy and impact of Gordon Parks [00:30:09] Explanation of the importance of honoring Gordon Parks' life, and accomplishments, and promoting cultural awareness and diversity through his work.

Contacting the Gordon Parks Museum [00:36:08]

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