Did you ever realize something decades late? I just did. I was watching a TV series that did a scene in a wealthy Black family’s New York apartment. The characters are art collectors and there’s this Gordon Parks photograph on one of their walls.
Gordon Parks. One of the most important photojournalists of the twentieth century. His work is monumental... icons of the civil rights movement, a chronicle of Black lives in the US, and in Brazil. He also composed music, wrote and directed the first Blaxploitation film, Shaft... he was a giant. And sometimes, he did fashion shoots. I’m guessing it was for extra cash... maybe to fund a movie shoot. Otherwise, why bother?
I suddenly thought of a poem I wrote about John Singer Sargent, the hottest painter of his day, dashing off a portrait of a rich man’s daughters so he could pocket the fee and get back to work that really mattered to him. I made the picture the cover of book of my poems, it intrigued me so much.