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Gordon Parks Inspired Photography with Alvin C. Jacobs

Images courtesy The Gordon Parks Foundation.

All ages
  • About This Program

    Learn the history and style of photography pioneer Gordon Parks from Image Activist Alvin C. Jacobs!

    Photography has been a critical tool for storytelling throughout generations. For this fun and educational Family First workshop, photographer & image activist Alvin C. Jacobs will lead participants through the history, style and major works of the acclaimed Gordon Parks - one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, who is known for his deeply rooted commitment to capturing stories that illustrate social injustices through the lens of African-Americans.

    Jacobs will guide participants through basic tools to enact a storytelling voice via the art of photography. Participants will have the choice to showcase the photos they take during the session (optional). This workshop is open to participants of all ages and experience levels. Adults and children may use any type of camera they would like–from mobile phone cameras to professional cameras–to engage in this virtual workshop.

    Family First is presented by Novant Health

  • How To Participate

    The workshop will be streamed live on Friday, July 24 at 3 pm via Zoom. Use the following URL to access and participate in this workshop:

    If you would like to watch the program live on YouTube, visit the Gantt Center's official YouTube channel.

  • About Gordon Parks

    Gordon Parks, one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, was a humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice. He left behind an exceptional body of work that documents American life and culture from the early 1940s into the 2000s, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. Parks was also a distinguished composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the leading people of his era—from politicians and artists to athletes and other celebrities.

    Born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912, Parks was drawn to photography as a young man when he saw images of migrant workers in a magazine. After buying a camera at a pawnshop, he taught himself how to use it. Despite his lack of professional training, he won the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship in 1942; this led to a position with the photography section of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in Washington, D.C., and, later, the Office of War Information (OWI). Working for these agencies, which were then chronicling the nation’s social conditions, Parks quickly developed a personal style that would make him among the most celebrated photographers of his era. His extraordinary pictures allowed him to break the color line in professional photography while he created remarkably expressive images that consistently explored the social and economic impact of poverty, racism, and other forms of discrimination.

    Additional Media: How self-taught photographer Gordon Parks became a master storyteller

  • About The Teaching Artist

    Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr., a native of Rockford, IL, is a professional photographer and image activist currently living in Charlotte, NC. He is also the 2018-2019 Gantt Center artist-in-residence who was commissioned to photograph the award-winning images in the Gantt Center's exhibition Welcome to Brookhill. A transplant to the Queen City, Jacobs honed his craft on the front lines of America's social justice movements. He has since emerged as a premier photographer and photo-documentarian. His distinctive aesthetic is marked by a propensity toward highlighting stark contrast and in dealing in the black & white - both in photography and in the world. This talent for capturing the heart of his subjects on camera has led to him being named one of Charlotte Magazine's 2018 "Charlotteans of the Year" and Creative Loafing's "Best Photographer of 2018." Welcome to Brookhill also received top honors by Creative Loafing readers as "Best Exhibit of 2018."

    Jacobs specializes in social documentary and professional sports, portrait, editorial, and fashion photography. He has been commissioned by the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR and has been interviewed by CNN, HLN, Fox News and various local media outlets. Jacobs' work has been displayed in a Black History Month exhibit for Clifford Chance, LLP in New York and, currently, he is a featured artist in the co-curated exhibition K(no)w Justice, K(no)w Peace at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte and at Davidson College in the photography exhibit Three Steps Back: A Call To Action. Prior to shooting Welcome to Brookhill, Jacobs was commissioned to photograph multiple record breaking dates for Jay Z's 4:44 Tour.

    Hear From The Teaching Artist

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