Fashion Culture | Fashion’s First Black Photographer

Gordon Parks accomplished many firsts, including the distinction of being the first black photographer at Vogue, Glamour, and Life magazines.

He worked at Life for nearly 25 years and completed over 300 assignments. He was a documentary and fashion photographer; a film director, writer, producer; a poet, novelist, essayist; and a composer. Among his notable films are Shaft and The Learning Tree.

Fashion Culture presents a series of Fashion’s Firsts, as part of EDGE’s education content.

Black fashion history, typically, is not part of the Western narrative from culture institutions to academia. It is unknown, or if known, overlooked.  EDGE recognizes the significant contribution Black fashion makers are to fashion’s history.

Photo: Gordon Parks photography, Department Store, Mobile Alabama, 1956 | Frieze Los Angeles, Paramount Pictures Studio

Source:, Referenced in the Congressional Record, is an online reference center of materials on African American history in one central location on the Internet.

Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor