Gordon Parks Immersive Educational Experience Oct. 8

The Gordon Parks Museum is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton.

Professor Duane “Michael” Cheers: “I needed Paris Launch Event” at the 2021 Gordon Parks Celebration

Fort Scott- Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott, KS, will host “I needed Paris Launch Event,” a presentation and discussion by Professor, Duane “Michael” Cheers during the 2021 Annual Gordon Parks Celebration events on Friday, October 8th at 11:30 A.M. at The Ellis Family Fine Arts Center at Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton St. Fort Scott, KS.

Members of the community are invited to attend the free presentation. Contact Kirk Sharp at 620 -223-2700 ext. 5850 for more information.

Duane “Michael’ Cheers, Associate Professor of Photojournalism, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, San Jose State University will provide a presentation and discussion launch event for the immersive educational experience that will take a group of diverse American and Parisian student photographers through Paris, traversing the same streets and neighborhoods as Gordon Parks. Prof. Cheers will help these students reimagine Parks’ panache as a fashion photographer and will help them recreate his black and white film photo techniques while using the same type of camera Gordon used – with twin lens reflex film cameras.

In 1948, Life magazine sent Gordon Parks who was 36 years old at the time, to Paris. He was to cover the French collections during fashion week. Not long after this, Parks was given a coveted assignment: two years in Life magazine’s Paris bureau. He would focus on photographing the latest fashions in the world’s fashion capital, Paris. Parks would more specifically take pictures of Americans in Paris. He would also be the magazine’s correspondent, using the lens of his camera to reveal scenes of a post-war Europe.

Contrary to many fashion photographers who did fashion shoots in studios, at that time, Parks, whose fashion photography had graced Vogue and Glamour magazines, photographed his fashion models mostly outdoors.

This project will showcase the diverse hues of women and men fashion models, unlike the Paris publications of the 1940s and early 1950s in which Black people were rarely seen. Student participants will style and photograph their models at some of the same locations chosen by Parks.

Part of this travel experience will be foundation of a book, “Blacks in Paris”, and it will feature some of our best photographs. This book will honor Parks as a documentary photographer. This project will also explore a close-knit community of the Black diaspora, known as “Little Africa”, mostly west and north African immigrants whose neighborhood area is now threatened by gentrification, much like the neighborhoods of Harlem, New York.

This print-on-demand picture book will be created in partnership with the Gordon Parks Museum, Fort Scott, Kansas, and with Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours. It will be published the latter part of 2022, the 30th anniversary of Songs of My People: African Americans, A Self-Portrait. Gordon Parks wrote the introduction to Songs of My People, and it was a best-selling coffee table picture book.

The student-photographers will receive academic credit for their published work. The proceeds from the sale of the book will assist the Gordon Parks Museum in their ongoing programming to promote cultural awareness and diversity in a global society.

The book launch and exhibition are scheduled for February 2023, at Fort Scott Community College.

The diverse pool of student-photographers will come from the photojournalism and photography departments
at San José State University, The George Washington University, and The Corcoran School of Art and Design.

For and other information email [email protected] or by phone call 223-2700, ext. 5850.
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