"Shaft" director Gordon Parks dead at 93


Gordon Parks, who directed the films The Learning Tree and Shaft, has died at the age of 93.

I saw a doc about Parks on HBO and he was definitely an impressive man.

I think Shaft is a fun, snappy, small action film that doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with a lot of the so-called Blaxploitation films which were frequently incompetently directed (I’m looking at you, Superfly). Sadly, few of his other films are out on DVD. I’ve been wanting to see The Super Cops and Leadbelly for a long time now after seeing that Leonard Maltin gave both films 3 1/2 stars in his movie guide. I haven’t even been able to find the VHS copies for rent. The Learning Tree, a historically important movie that’s in the National Film Registry, also isn’t out on DVD. Pretty pitiful.

Hopefully, the fact that his death makes the news might hasten the DVD release. I’m looking forward to whatever photo compilations might come out also.

I’m gonna use your thread.

When I was a wee young lad, I was fascinated by"stret" photography. Whether it was posed or truly candid mattered not to me, it was the subject that mattered. Of course I loved the old masters, like Henri Cartier Bresson, but I also found myself immersed in magazines and compilations of photos by Margaret Bourke-White, Dorathea Lange, Diane Arbus, and of course Gordon Parks.

Like I said, whether posed or true candids, the concept of “street” photography had me enthralled and hooked. They also did some mighty fine portraits.

I’m sad about his passing, but, at 93, Gordon Parks led a rich, full life, and enriched us all by his ability to surpass the condition he was born into, and help us see, by his attentive eye,a real world , at a time it was usually ignored/trivialized.

From the OP’s link:
“Gordon was one of the magazine’s most accomplished shooters and one of the very greatest American photographers of the 20th century,” said Life’s managing editor, Bill Shapiro. “He moved as easily among the glamorous figures of Hollywood and Paris as he did among the poor in Brazil and the powerful in Washington.”

And, he did that in a time where it wasn’t easy to do that as a racial minority. He did it because he was a brilliant person.

A brilliant, amazing ,caring, sharp guy, who made a helluva difference.

: cue in Isaac Hayes with the best COOOOOLLLLLL funk bass-driven send off:

I was suprised on watching Shaft for the first time that Parks was a fairly conservative director. It’s not flashy in a Tarantino way, as I had expected it to be. Likewise, The Learning Tree. The direction is very much by the book.