The Harlem Renaissance has always captured my imagination. The appeal is manifold - part lies in the deep belief people had for the way that art and culture could be grounds for a social and spiritual revolution; Part lies in witnessing people struggling to define themselves, move themselves out and away from societal labels and expectations; part lies in the celebration of language, and the commitment to articulating the complexity of outer and inner life. And, frankly, I love the hifalutin, intellectual reach of it all. So much of our popular media right now is so epically dumb. It takes a nanosecond to digest, doesn't challenge us, and is really not worth sharing (Yes, I am talking about you, Kardashians.) Behold, a new photojournalism book with photos by Parks and previously unseen words by Ralph Ellison. Enough of a reco for me. Summer reading - elevated.
“Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem,” published by Steidl, the Gordon Parks Foundation, and the Art Institute of Chicago, is out this month.
Vinson Cunningham, New Yorker review here. http://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/ralph-ellison-and-gordon-parkss-joint-harlem-vision