Gordon Parks, Evening Wraps at Dawn, New York, New York, 1956. Some artists create with a sense of purpose that extends beyond making something beautiful. American photographer Gordon Parks is a consummate example. Over a nearly seven-decade career, he used his camera to document “all the things I dislike about America—poverty, racism, discrimination.” And he was consistent: consistently prolific, inspired and committed to fighting inequality. According to his daughter Leslie Parks, “He always wanted to show injustice. That’s all he knew, so that’s what he took photographs of.” Most people know Parks for his firsts: first African-American man to work at Life magazine, first to write and direct a Hollywood film (The Learning Tree in 1969)—or for a single iconic photograph or film. Few are aware of the breadth of his creativity, that he was also a self-taught pianist, composer and author of memoirs, poetry, novels and plays. Fewer still appreciate how he brought to the American mainstream the truth—ugly and beautiful—of people rendered invisible because of This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Six Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Space Invaders Room dividers from a Roman studio. Arts & Culture Issue 43 Peer Review: Edward Krasinski Curator Kasia Redzisz on the surreal wit of the avant-garde artist. Arts & Culture Films Music Issue 42 Peer Review Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat pays homage to the iconic Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum. Arts & Culture Issue 41 An Artist in Tunis Dora Dalila Cheffi is building her reputation, and her home, in the Tunisian capital. Arts & Culture Issue 41 Peer Review Curator Alya Al-Mulla shares the legacy of Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine. Arts & Culture Issue 41 CULT ROOMS Inside Alexander Calder’s studio, where chaos and kinetic art found a harmonious balance.