One of the greatest photographers of the 20th century was the famous African American photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006).
He documented the extent of poverty in Harlem and the living conditions in then- largely segregated Washington, DC. He worked on assignment to the Farm Security Administration during the New Deal, he worked for Standard Oil, and he shot for Life Magazine, Ebony and Glamour, producing thousands of spectacular images that are perfect examples of good composition.
Channeling his anger at the injustice he experienced himself – being turned away in restaurants and theaters and shops- he often pursued stories that featured African Americans at work, in tenement homes, and places of worship. He also became the official photographer of the Tuskegee Airmen, the squadron of African American fighter pilots who distinguished themselves in aerial combat over Nazi Germany
We are privileged to have 150 of these photographs now on display in the west building of the National Gallery of Art, and we will use them to teach you all the most important elements of photographic composition: leading lines, rule of thirds, of foreground element, getting low and close, candid photography, posed photography, pictures that tell a story without words.
Here are some samples of his work that you will capture on this safari
We begin our Safari in the hallway of the 7th Street entrance to the West Building of the National Gallery of Art with a discussion of all the elements of composition by architectural photographer and Washington photo Safari director E.David Luria
We then go inside the Gordon Parks exhibit and examine each photograph from the point of view of the lessons that a teaches us in composition, especially in black and white photography, we wander through other exhibits of the gallery, ending up in the Sculpture Gallery with three dimensional statuettes by the famous French sculptors Auguste Rodin and Eduard Degas.
In short, this is a safari to help you become a more as astute critic of your own photos by studying and documenting the works of the great masters. We also teach you how to use your camera or smartphone to shoot artwork in low-light situations without flash or tripod, getting the right exposure and white balance, a skill that will come in handy in all your future travels to museums and galleries.
This Safari is led by architectural photographer E.David Luria who studied photography in Paris at the Parsons School of Design with a protege of the French photographer Henri cartier Bresson, famous for capturing the “decisive moment” in his classic works.
Bring camera, medium lens (35 mm F1.8 or 50 mm F1.8) or late-model smartphone. No flash, no tripod, no backpacks. Meet behind security inside the 7th Street entrance of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, near 7th and Constitution Ave NW.