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Celebrating African American Trailblazers in the Film Industry: Gordon Parks

Posted by Kim Moseman on February 8, 2022

As we celebrate Black History Month, we will be highlighting the African American trailblazers who made history in the film industry. Our first spotlight goes to the remarkable Gordon Parks, the first Black writer and director of a major Hollywood feature film.

Gordon Parks holding a camera.

Gordon Parks was a distinguished photographer, composer, author, and filmmaker who documented American life and culture from the early 1940s into the 2000s. He was born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912. He taught himself to use a camera that he purchased at a pawnshop. Despite his lack of professional training, he would go on to win several fellowships, honorary doctorates and awards in his lifetime.

Parks’ unique photography style allowed him to break the color line in professional photography while he created expressive images that explored and captured the social and economic impacts of poverty, racism, and discrimination.

In 1969 he became the first African American to write and direct a major Hollywood studio feature film, The Learning Tree. His next film, Shaft (1971), was a critical and box-office success. He continued his photography and videography until his death in 2006.

You can check out our other posts about the groundbreaking African Americans who have made history in the film industry here on Blog Central. And if you’d like to learn more about the new services we are offering here at Crews Control or discuss your next great video shoot, contact your production manager or click here to fill out our free quote form.  

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