Gordon Parks
[Photographer and filmmaker, b. 1912, Fort Scott, Kansas, d. 2006, New York.]

 What the camera had to do was expose the evils of racism, the evils of poverty, the discrimination and the bigotry, by showing the people who suffered most under it. 
 I had known poverty firsthand, but there I learned how to fight its evil—along with the evil of racism—with a camera. 
 The photographer begins to feel big and bloated and so big he can't walk through one of these doors because he gets a good byline; he gets notices all over the world and so forth; but they’re really—the important people are the people he photographs. They are what make him. 
 The funny and sad thing is that photography is an art, but these guys have such an inferiority complex about it that all they do is tag on gold-plate words where they aren’t needed. If they’d only let it talk for itself. 
 ... I feel it’s the heart, not the eye, that should determine the content of the photograph. What the eye sees is its own. What the heart can perceive is a very different matter. 
 I want my children and my children’s children to be able to look at my pictures and know what my world was like. Even if it only helps a little bit toward this understanding, then I’ve done my job and done it well. 
 I must attempt to transcend the limitations of my own experience by sharing, as deeply as possible, the problems of those I photograph. 
 You know, the camera is not meant just to show misery. You can show beauty with it; you can do a lot of things. You can show—with a camera you can show things that you like about the universe, things you hate about the universe. It's capable of doing both. And I think that after nearly 85 years upon this planet that I have a right after working so hard at showing the desolation and the poverty, to show something beautiful as well. It’s all there, and you've only done half the job if you don’t do that. 
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