Sarah Meister on Gordon Parks’s “The Atmosphere of Crime”

In his 1957 Life magazine photo essay, Parks used his “weapon of choice” to meld social commentary and a cinematic vision.
Dec 4, 2020

In our latest online edition of MoMA’s ArtSpeaks program, a member of our staff shares personal impressions of an artwork in the galleries. Here, Sarah Meister, curator in the Department of Photography, looks at images from Gordon Parks’s 1957 photo essay “The Atmosphere of Crime” (1957) and is moved by the power (and, sadly, continued relevance) of his ability to confront “the great social evils of his time” with an “incredible artistic sensibility.”

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