Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. was easily one of our favorite albums of the year, and our opinion was definitely validated when Lamar got multiple Grammy nominations for it. The visual accompaniments are as powerful as his music is, namely the video for “ELEMENT.” Lamar directly referenced the photography of Gordon Parks in the clip, which is a powerful depiction of violence, and now, those photos can now be viewed together in one place.
The Gordon Parks Foundation in Pleasantville, N.Y. opened an exhibition today featuring Parks’ photographs that Lamar was inspired by. The photographs explore the lives of black Americans, including the image that inspired the opening shot of the video, 1956’s Untitled, which depicts a hand reaching out of a lake, 1963’s Boy with Junebug and 1963’s Ethel Sharrieff. The showcase runs until Feb. 9.
“Gordon Parks’ work is continuing to have a great impact on young people—and particularly on artists like Kendrick who use the power of imagery to examine issues related to social justice and race in our country,” said Executive Director Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. in a statement. “With “ELEMENT.” the music video, Kendrick has helped to call attention to one of the most important artists of our time.”
Revisit the video for “ELEMENT.” here and our review of DAMN. here.