"Some models just inspire you to shoot," Parks says, his face brightening, of his "woman in red" image shown here. "I loved this wonderful sheath she had on and I thought she wore it well."
Women and fashion happen to be two of Parks's burning passions. "Beautiful clothes, glamorous models. . .I had an undying love for both," he laughs. A love which led to a five-year stint shooting fashion for Vogue. Though Parks managed to easily make the transition from photographing images of social injustice and gang violence to capturing the essence of Forties glam, the ugly truth of what it meant for him to be a black photographer in a white man's world followed him into the colorful splashes of fashion spreads. Way before he started shooting for Vogue, Parks brought his fashion pictures to Harper's Bazaar's Alexey Brodovitch. "Brodovitch thought they were marvelous," Parks explains, "but because Hearst wasn't hiring Negroes back then, I was shown the door." Lucky for us, despite rampant racist attitudes of the day, Vogue editor Alexander Liberman gave Parks a chance. After his first six months of assignments, Liberman selected Parks to photograph a collection of the season's finest evening gowns. "The eight pages of color that appeared were, to me, the apogee of the opportunity given to me," Parks says. "Quietly I rejoiced at these Vogue pages. It was a joyous passage...one I pursued in Paris and other worldly bastions of haute couture for decades to come."