George Plimpton, Gordon Parks & Muhhamad AliSunday, June 05, 2016
In 2006 one of my first blogs was this one: I Wrote. In it there is a story that I was told by George Plimpton when John Lekich and I were assigned to interview and photograph him for the Georgia Straight when he came to town. The story is all about an African/American photographer who had elegance and class. His name was Gordon Parks. I was so awed by Plimpton that I was sort of frozen. Plimpton shared a story with me that broke the ice.
"Years ago when Muhammad Ali was known as Cassius Clay, the boxer lay defeated in his dressing room after having been out punched by Frazier. Photographer Gordon Parks and I were covering the event for Life. Gordon raised his Nikon to his eye and what he saw was defeat. It almost looked like the corpse of Che Guevara on the marble slab of that Bolivian morgue. He lowered his camera and looking at me he said, ‘I can’t do it.’ And he didn’t.”