This program was made possible by a grant from the Springfield and Massachusetts Cultural Council

Gordon Parks Exhibit February, March, and April 2023

Springfield MA – February is Black History Month and what better way to celebrate than dedicating an exhibit and activities to Gordon Parks. Gordon Parks was a modern renaissance man. He was a photographer, musician, writer, poet, and film director. He was one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century. His photography covered a broad spectrum of work including photojournalism, fashion, and portraiture.  He was particularly known for his photographs highlighting civil rights and poverty.   Films he directed include “The Learning Tree” and the “Shaft” movies.

The Valley Photo Center located on the upper level of Tower Square, 1500 Main St., in Springfield, Mass. has a photo exhibit of some of his work and winners or the Gordon Parks inspired, "From the Heart" photo contest. 

Kirk Sharp, is the director of the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott, Kansas gave an outstanding lecture that honored the life and work of Gordon Parks, internationally-known photographer, filmmaker, writer, and musician and how his remarkable life story teaches us about artistic creativity, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in our lives.

 "I feel it is the heart, not the eye, that should determine the intent of the photograph. What the eye sees is its own, What the heart can perceive is a very different matter."

More about Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was an American photographer, filmmaker, and writer. He was born in Fort Scott, Kansas and grew up in poverty. Parks began his career as a photographer in the 1940s, working for the Farm Security Administration.In 

1948 he joined the staff of Life magazine and went on to become one of the most important photographers of the 20th century.  He is best known for his photos of African American life and his work as a pioneer in fashion photography. He documented

 issues such as poverty, racial segregation, and civil rights, and his work helped to raise awareness of these issues. He also directed several influential films, including the 1971 blaxploitation film "Shaft". Parks was the first African American to direct a

 major Hollywood film, and he remains an important figure in the history of photography and film.Parks passed away on March 7, 2006, at the age of 93, but his legacy continues to inspire new generations of photographers, filmmakers, and writers.

Gordon Parks "From the Heart" Photo Contest 
Virtual Gallery

The Valley Photo Center celebrates Black History Month in February, 2023 with a tribute to Gordon Parks.   As part of the celebration we are displaying photographs inspired by Gordon Parks in a special juried photo contest exhibit.  

Gordon Parks once said, "I feel it is the heart, not the eye, that should determine the intent of the photograph. What the eye sees is its own, What the heart can perceive is a very different matter." The theme for  this contest was "photographs that your heart told you to make". 

Winners Gordon Parks "From the Heart" Photo Contest

These are the entries for the contest. 19 prints were selected for display in the gallery and from those three prints will be selected by the judges for Hunt Photo gift certificates of $100 for 1st place, $50.00 for second place, and $25.00 for third place and announced at the reception on the 19th. The winners were, 1st place Joyce Dotty, 2nd Place Steve Dunwell, and 3rd place Ana Aya Mozell.

These are all of the entries into the contest

The first 19 are in the exhibit