Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was born on November 30, 1912, in Fort Scott, Kansas. Parks was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s, particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African American and in glamour photography. Parks was a self-taught artist who became the first African American photographer for Life and Vogue magazines. He also pursued movie directing and screenwriting, working at the helm of the films The Learning Tree, based on a novel he wrote, and Shaft. Parks has published several memoirs and retrospectives as well, including A Choice of Weapons.