Invisible Man
Gordon Parks / Ralph Ellison

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

By the mid-1940s, Gordon Parks was a successful photographer and Ralph Ellison began work on his acclaimed novel Invisible Man (1952). It is relatively unknown, however, that the two men were friends and that their common vision of racial injustice inspired collaboration on two important projects, in 1948 and 1952.

 

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Parks and Ellison first joined forces on an essay titled “Harlem Is Nowhere” for ’48: The Magazine of the Year. Conceived while Ellison was already writing Invisible Man, this illustrated essay was centered on Harlem’s Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clini – the first non-segregated psychiatric clinic in New York City – as a case study for the social and economic conditions of the neighborhood. He chose Parks to create the accompanying photographs and during the winter months of 1948, the two roamed the streets of Harlem. In 1952 they worked together again on “A Man Becomes Invisible” for the August 25 issue of Life magazine, which promoted Ellison’s newly released novel.

 

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Gordon Parks / Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison / Gordon Parks

This is the first publication on Parks’ and Ellison’s collaboration on these two projects, one of which was lost while the other was published only in reduced form. The catalogue provides an in-depth look at the artists’ shared vision of black life in America, with Harlem as its nerve center.

 

 

Invisible Man / Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem
168 pages, 79 images, clothbound / 25 x 29 cm
Text by Michal Raz-Russo and Jean-Christophe Cloutier
Introduction by Matthew S. Witkovsky and John F. Callahan
Foreword by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. and Douglas Druick
Co-published with The Gordon Parks Foundation and The Art Institute of Chicago
Available at Steidl >

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