The Atmosphere of Crime, 1957

@ Parks, Gordon



.Copies of the 2nd printing of this books are now in stock!.

Presentation by Steidl:

" When Life magazine asked Gordon Parks to illustrate a recurring series of articles on crime in the United States in 1957, he had already been a staff photographer for nearly a decade, the first African American to hold this position. Parks embarked on a six-week journey that took him and a reporter to the streets of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Unlike much of his prior work, the images made were in color.

The resulting eight-page photo-essay The Atmosphere of Crime was noteworthy not only for its bold aesthetic sophistication, but also for how it challenged stereotypes about criminality then pervasive in the mainstream media. They provided a richly-hued, cinematic portrayal of a largely hidden world: that of violence, police work and incarceration, seen with empathy and candor.

Parks rejected clichés of delinquency, drug use and corruption, opting for a more nuanced view that reflected the social and economic factors tied to criminal behavior and a rare window into the working lives of those charged with preventing and prosecuting it. Transcending the romanticism of the gangster film, the suspense of the crime caper and the racially biased depictions of criminality then prevalent in American popular culture, Parks coaxed his camera to do what it does best: record reality so vividly and compellingly that it would allow Life’s readers to see the complexity of these chronically oversimplified situations.

The Atmosphere of Crime, 1957 includes an expansive selection of never-before-published photographs from Parks' original reportage.

Co-published with The Gordon Parks Foundation and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. "

The books includes - at the end of the page sequence - a facsimile reproduction of the Life issue pages where the essay was originally published. Texts by Nicole Fleetwood and Bryan Stevenson in English only.

This book was initially published in 2020 and sold out quite quickly. Steild reprinted the book in March 2021, and we are now offering copies of the 2nd printing of this book.

120 pages - Hardcover w/ DJ

Steidl, 2020 (2nd printing, 2021)

Format : 25 x 29 cm

New - Mint condition

This book is no longer in stock


Parks, Gordon

Gordon Parks is an American photographer, director and civil rights activist. Struggling in his teens and early adulthood, Parks worked various petty jobs, including singer and pianist. He started his photographer career before WWII as a fashion photographer. Along with Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, he is one of the emblematic photographers of the Farm Security Administration photography program documenting the plight of the farm workers during and after the Great Depression. After WWII he became a sought-after photo-reporter and regularly worked for important magazines such as Life, Vogue and Fortune. Gordon Parks is also an emblematic director of the early Blaxploitation genre as he directed the 1971 cult classic, and one of the first and most successful movie of the genre, "Shaft". His photography work has been shown in numerous books since the fifties. The German publisher Steidl has undertaken since 2012 the publication of his most important work, publishing - among others - the foillowing books: "A Harlem Family 1967" (2012), "Segregation Story" (2014), "Muhammad Ali: American Champion" (2019) and "The Atmosphere of Crime, 1967" (2020). © Portrait by Rowland Scherman (Wikipedia - cropped)
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