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A Hungry Heart: A Memoir

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Gordon Parks, acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, composer, and author of fiction and nonfiction, has participated in, been witness to, and documented many of the major events in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries.Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, on November 30, 1912, he left home at age fifteen when his mother passed away. For the next twelve years, he lived in ...more
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Atria Books
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This is a book I'd been meaning to read for a few months, but when it was mentioned recently in one of my favorite photography podcasts, I decided there was no time better than the present. If you want the short answer on whether this is worth reading, the answer is a resounding yes, immediately! As I'm a hobbyist photographer, I approached this from that angle, and the book truly came alive once Gordon purchased his first camera, as a young man. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but I ...more
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A memoir by an American photographer, filmmaker, composer, Gordon Parks, a pioneer in all ranks. First color man to work as a photographer for Life magazine ( barely knowing how to use a camera, but in an act of faith) the first color man to direct a film in Hollywood on his own terms ( Shaft) a jazz and classical pianist composer who was once received in Venice by a shower of rose petals ( literally).. admired and chosen by Ingrid Bergman as the only photographer to take her pictures during her ...more
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves photography or autobiographies
Excellent book from Gordan Parks who details his life as the first black photographer for Life magazine.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at the life of Gordon Parks. He lived through much of the 20th century. His experiences as a young black man in racist America by 2019 are not so much eye-opening as a concrete witness that gives a face and body to the often ghost like form of racism.

As his work continued to be recognized first through the WPA and then through Life magazine, he began to photograph so many iconic figures of the twentieth centuryIngrid Bergman, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Black
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Well that's it. I have lived a lot, worked a lot, and smiled a lot. And I will cling to all of those blessings until my hungry heart is hopelessly exhausted."

An excellent conclusion to one of the most remarkable autobiographies I have ever read. Gordon Parks is a true legend and I am glad I got to partake in his life via this book. Such a beautiful life he has lived and led.
Urenna Sander
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sweetness of recognition and success, the bitterness of poverty, hunger, and bigotry overlying the rituals of existence: marriage, birth, work, seasoned with and joy and most of alllove.

I began reading this book several months ago. I wrote a brief draft and abandoned it. Today, I completed Mr. Gordon Parks memoir.

Mr. Gordon Parks was born into a loving family in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912. He was the youngest of 14 brothers and sisters.

As a young boy, he was feisty and unafraid to
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gordon Parks was one of the first to transcend race in America, he was not a "Black" photographer, he was a photographer, quite an achievement in the 1950's. He says it well describing his retrospective with photos of a high fashion gown the same color as the blood from a youth in a gang war he had photographed the same day.

Born in 1912 (a living icon before his death in 2006), Parks' work took him everywhere.. northern Canada, Paris, Rio and all over the US. He brushed with King Farouk and
B. Jackson
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love biographies, and this one certainly did not disappoint. A Hungry Heart is about the life of the late Gordon Parks, a celebrated African American photographer noted for his work with Time Magazine. You get a birds-eye view into his professional and personal life. As it concerns his life as a photographer he started from nothing -- no formal training nor professional camera. His gift was innate, and he did what we are all charged with doing, discovering and nurturing it to the best of our ...more
Nandi Crawford
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
It is always a joy and privilege to read of one's life especially when they are now at the age where one should honor and remember them. The late Gordon Parks was blessed to live on this earth a good 90 plus years until he passed away a year ago in March. This latest work includes how he was born in Kansas, losing his mother just as the Depression comes into being, he works and experiences racism at it's worse. But despite of it, he became one of America's emminent photographers at a time when ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read. Gordon Parks was best known for his works as a film maker, with such movies as the "Learning Tree" and "Shaft", he became a cult icon in the African American entertainment genre. This auto-biographical piece, written almost from his death bed, puts it in perspective the life and times of African Americans who were struggling to become successful in the earlier part of the 20th century.
Follow, Park's journey from impoverished youth, fashion photographer, photo journalist and
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hands down one of the best autobiographies I've read. Mr. Parks was very honest in this book, a trait I highly admire, so I may be a little biased. The way he tells his story is as if you're sitting & learning a piece of history from your grandfather or an older great uncle... someone with many vivid life experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Colin Rennert-may
Parks is an inspiring artist, whose work brought him into contact with famous and powerful figures in the middle of the 20th century. His autobiography contains moments of brilliance, but it lacks consistency across the episodes of his life. In particular, Parks writes with little self-awareness about his personal life and his inner self. The book was interesting but not really satisfying.
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He's amazing!
Lloyd Fassett
8/28/16 Found it by browsing "The Great Life Photographers" which is newly published. He's one of many photographers in that book
Christine Himmelfarb
What a life! It's hard to imagine that one man did, saw, and created as much as he did.
Huey Atticus
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book
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Gordon Parks was a groundbreaking American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. He is best remembered for his photo essays for Life Magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.

Parks is remembered for his activism, filmmaking, photography, and writings. He was the first African-American to work at Life magazine, and the first to write, direct, and

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