Since its inception, photography has been a medium, not only used for art, but to expose the world to things happening right in front of them, things that people might not be able to see without the lens of a camera. Legendary activist and photographer Gordon Parks was well aware of this – and now the audience will have the opportunity to look into his process and see how it has affected the world as a whole in HBO’s latest documentary, A Selection of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks.
A selection of weapons, for which HBO has just released a trailer, explores Parks’ enduring legacy as not only a photographer, but as a composer, filmmaker, writer and activist, documenting a tumultuous time in black history, in which he not only shoots civil rights protests and poverty, but also icons like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. The film explores his influence on culture and society through the lens of three contemporary photographers, Devin Allen, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Jamel Shabazz, who all took a page out of Park’s book and used their cameras for change, as effective as any speech or novel or physical protest action.
“With all that, black people confronted,” the interviewee says Jelani Cobb, “It takes a great deal of courage to say you want to change that with your camera.”
The film has a compelling overview of the Black American experience that covers Parks’ early work in the 1940s through his work with publications such as Life and Vogue, and his irrelevant authorship, composition and instruction, including his work on the 1971 film Shaft. highlights Parks’ use of his camera as a weapon to challenge racism and poverty systems as Life’s first black photographer, and offers interviews with Andersen Cooper, Ava DuVernay, Nelson George, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Spike Lee, Khalil Muhammad, Bryan Stevenson, and more.
Directed by John May and executive produced by Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys, A selection of weapons gets exclusive premiere on HBO on November 15 at. 22:00 EST and can be streamed simultaneously on HBO Max. Watch the film’s brand new trailer below:
“Put on a suit, put on some sunglasses, because it’s time to go on a mission from God.”
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