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  1. #1
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Discussing a Gordon Parks Photograph

    We haven't done a Gordon yet, so here goes: http://www.masters-of-photography.co...boys_full.html

    I'm remaining neutral, that is, no comments on my part for now.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  2. #2

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    I certainly appreciate the fine work done by Mr Parks.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  3. #3
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    It's very.... white!

    Seriously, I mean it. Gordon Parks's pictures are valuable because of their pictorial quality, and because they engage with what it is to be black in America. What I find interesting about the present picture is that its subjects are about as white as can be, but that is also something that stands out uncannily. Being white is so often considered "normal" and black a difference from, or an exception to it, that I think this picture turns tables in a great way. To use a faddish word, it "defamiliarizes" the notion of whiteness...
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  4. #4
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    What you say was/is very true Michel, and Parks pointed that out very seriously. I don't know what was on his mind when he took this. I had not seen it that way but maybe it does show through like you say.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  5. #5
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Alex, I wish I could also substantiate my claims with a little more than projected intention and contextual reading, but that was really the first thing that sprung to my mind. My reading is a very subjective one, but maybe Park himself was aware of what his audience would think of his work, given that he was black. Glad to know that there is some substance to it, at any rate.

    And the fact that a perennial american icon was taken in Ontario, it defamiliarizes the defamiliarization!
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  6. #6
    Gay Larson's Avatar
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    I love gordon Parks work. I particulary love the maid in front of the flag with a mop. this photograph is great and I am drawn into the eyes of the boy on the left looking into the camera.
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  7. #7
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    Alex, I wish I could also substantiate my claims with a little more than projected intention and contextual reading, but that was really the first thing that sprung to my mind. My reading is a very subjective one, but maybe Park himself was aware of what his audience would think of his work, given that he was black. Glad to know that there is some substance to it, at any rate.

    And the fact that a perennial american icon was taken in Ontario, it defamiliarizes the defamiliarization!
    No need for substantiation for me Michel. You just opened my eyes a bit. I hadn't thought of it that way until now. Thanks.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  8. #8
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    I guess I couldn't help but wondering what they were thinking of the photographer taking their picture. I sure feel like I am an outsider in their world when I look at them in the photo, and none too welcome.

  9. #9
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    I really like this pic. Even without the title it's time is readily apparent. Just look at the rolled up cuffs on the denims. They scream 'Fifties.

    The one on the right is trying to look so cool - with a "James Dean" kind of cool insouicence. The others strike a range of poses (and these are poses - no "street" or "decisive moment" here) that demonstrate various forms of "cool" a'la the time.

    One has a straight-into-the-lens engagement and smile while the others strike poses that could almost be from the Dead End Kids.

    Of course there are not "real" cowboys - one look at the boots confirms we have the genuine drug store version.

    I don't know where Blind River, ONT is located - I'm wondering if this was taken by Parks while on a holiday.

    Yes, it's very different from his "movement" pics - but to me, that shows the range of the man's talent.

    EDIT: Had to "google" it: http://www.blindriver.com/site/welcome/
    Last edited by copake_ham; 09-04-2006 at 09:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Some pictures stand alone (depending, of course, on the viewer's background), others require captions or need the context of related images to fully establish themselves in the viewer's mind as more than just a random snapshot. I think this is one of those.
    Thanks, Alex.

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