Influential Photo

Photographer: Gordon Parks

Title: American Gothic

I chose this photo because of the powerful statement that it represented and still represents to this day about the unfair treatment and misogyny towards African Americans in the U.S. This photo was intended to be a parody of Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting that represented two local American farmers who are standing and one is holding a pitchfork. In Wood’s painting he was representing the models as being in the land of the free and proudly American by living under certain working conditions. In Park’s photo he took that representation from Grants painting and replaced it with an African American woman named Ella Watson and represented her struggles by the emotion on her face and the mop and broom that she is holding. This shows that African Americans were being treated poorly and given unfair pay while working hard jobs. Park represented that it was America doing this to African Americans by photographing the American Flag in the background of Watson. This photo clearly represents the poor treatment of African Americans while ‘living in the land of the free’ and still represents it to this day.


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