Gordon Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, on 30th November, 1912. Parks worked as a nightclub pianist and a railroad waiter, before taking up photography.
In 1937 Parks was invited by Roy Stryker to join the the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration. This small group of photographers, including Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Charlotte Brooks, John Vachon, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn, were employed to publicize the conditions of the rural poor in America. Parks also worked on the Standard Oil project before becoming a staff photographer with Life Magazine (1948-68).
Parks made his directorial debut with Flavio (1964). This was followed by The World of Piri Thomas(1968) and The Learning Tree (1969), an adaptation of his autobiographical novel about growing up in Kansas. Other films made by Parks include Shaft (1971), Shaft's Big Score (1972), The Super Cops (1973), Leadbelly (1976) and Solomon Northup's Odyssey (1984).
Gordon Parks died on 7th March, 2006.