Blog #15 Virtual Trip to Gordon Parks Exhibition

This week, I visited the Gordon Parks virtual exhibition, the Atmosphere of Crime. The Atmosphere of Crime is a book that was published in 1957 by Gordon Parks. Gordon Parks and a reporter, Robert Wallace traveled around in the US using his angle of perspective to capture crimes and trying to discover what is crime.

Gordon Parks, Crime Suspect with Gun, Chicago, Illinois, 1957.
Medium:Inkjet print, printed 2019

Dimensions: 17 15/16 × 11 7/8″ (45.6 × 30.1 cm)

The first piece of artwork that impressed me the most is “Crime Suspect with Gun.” In this photo, there is a silhouette of a person holding a gun walking toward the camera against the light source. The reason I am so impressed by this piece is because of the unknown situation of this photo. At first glance, I was thinking this might be a man holding a gun and he might hurt someone. However, I realized this is a stereotype. It might be a woman holding a gun and trying to protect her kids. Instead of showing the criminals in a clear way, he chose to only show the silhouette, and this approach really impressed me because we never know who is the criminal by just looking at their color, outfit and action. 

Gordon Parks, Drug Search, Chicago, Illinois, 1957
Medium: Inkjet print, printed 2019
Dimensions: 11 7/8 × 17 15/16″ (30.1 × 45.6 cm)

The second piece that I would like to talk about is the “Drug Search.” In this photo, we can see that there is a black man wearing a suit and a hat with his hands raised, and he was frisked by someone. In this piece, Parks still didn’t capture the whole face of the person, however, we can clearly see the skin color of the man. We knew the police were searching for drugs from this man by reading the title of the photo. Even though we knew the police were searching for drugs, we don’t know the result of the searching. In fact, we do not even know why he was frisked. We don’t know if the police have evidence or if the police were judging his skin color.

Gordon Parks, Raiding Detectives, Chicago, Illinois, 1957
Medium: Inkjet print, printed 2019
Dimensions: 11 7/8 × 17 15/16″ (30.1 × 45.6 cm)

The third piece that interested me the most is “Raiding Detectives.” Unlike the two photos that I discussed above, this photo is clear enough to see the main characters. By reading the title, we know that these two men are detectives. We can see there were two detectives in suits in a lobby of a building, and they were trying to break the door, one of them holding something in his hand, likely a gun. I am assuming there might be a crime scene behind the door. The interesting thing is they don’t look nervous, one of them was smiling while kicking the door. 

The virtual trip to Gordon Parks exhibition is a meaningful experience to me. Although there are populations still facing these issues, more and more people accept the diversity in race and culture. I believe the Gordon Parks’ contribution is meaningful and the works he done helped us to make a big step to stop stereotype and discrimination.

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