I’ve been fortunate to see a number of photos by the wonderful black American photographer Gordon Parks, earlier this year at the ‘Outsiders’ exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario – the AGO – and this weekend at the University of Toronto’s Art Museum. Park’s images of African American life in the forties and fifties have a vivid, brooding quality, a way of unearthing lives that were hidden from white America, humanising them while at the same time  conveying both empathy and anger. What I didn’t know was that Parks had collaborated with Ralph Ellison, author of the landmark novel ‘Invisible Man’ – indeed, that their collaboration included an important photo essay, ‘A Man Becomes Invisible’ and several other projects. All of which the New York Times makes clear in via Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison, Artistic Giants of Postwar Harlem – The New York Times. If you’re interested in photography, in literature, in American culture and history and in the experience of black people in America, I think you will enjoy and appreciate this.

Posted by Glen Fisher

Writer, photographer. Education and skills consultant.


  1. Had the opportunity to not only see his works, but hear him in person at the DIA several years ago. Amazing!



    1. Wow! what a privilege! lucky you 🙂



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