Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Gordon Parks
Segregation Story
January 8–31, 2015


The Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to present Segregation Story, an exhibition of colour photographs by Gordon Parks. The exhibition will open on January 8 and will be on view until January 31 with an opening reception on January 8 between 6 and 8 pm.

In 1956, during his time as a staff photographer at LIFE magazine, Gordon Parks went to Alabama - the heart of America’s segregated south at the time – to shoot what would become one of the most important and influential photo essays of his career. Parks befriended one multigenerational family living in and around the small town of Mobile to capture their day-to-day encounters with discrimination. The story ran later that year in LIFE under the title, The Restraints: Open and Hidden.

Parks shot over 50 images for the project, however only about 20 of these appeared in LIFE. The rest of the transparencies were presumed to be lost during publication - until they were rediscovered in 2011, five years after Parks’ death. The photographs are now being exhibited for the first time and offer a more complete and complex look at how Parks’ used an array of images to educate the public about civil rights. Rather than highlighting the violence, protests and boycotts that was typical of most media coverage in the 1950s, Parks depicted his subjects exhibiting courage and even optimism in the face of the barriers that confronted them.

Parks’ choice to use colour – a groundbreaking decision at the time - further differentiated his work and forced an entire nation to see the injustice that was happening ‘here and now’. Even today, these images serve as a poignant reminder about our shockingly not too distant history and the remnants of segregation still prevalent in North America.

A preeminent photographer, poet, novelist, composer, and filmmaker, Gordon Parks was one of the most prolific and diverse American artists of the 20th century. His work has been shown in recent museum exhibitions across the United States as well as in France, Italy and Canada. An exhibition under the same title, Segregation Story, is currently on view at the High Museum in Atlanta. A book was published by Steidl to accompany the exhibition and is available through the gallery. Parks’ work is held in numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Art Institute of Chicago.

For more information on this artist click here.
  • Gordon Parks, Outside Looking In, Mobile, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, Courtesy and copyright of The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Alabama, 1956, Archival pigment print, printed later, 11 x 14 inches, Edition of 15, Courtesy and Copyright of The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Mobile, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, courtesy and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, courtesy and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, courtesy and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, courtesy and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, courtesy and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work
  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956, archival pigment print, printed later, courtesy and copyright of The Gordon Parks Foundation Inquire about this work