SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – February is Black History Month and to celebrate, an exhibit on influential artist Gordon Parks took place Sunday at The Valley Photo Center in Tower Square.

Parks was a photographer, film director, musician, writer, and more. The people at the exhibition held on Sunday afternoon were able to get a first-hand look into why he was so influential.

Kirk Sharp, the director of the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott, Kansas held his lecture on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. where he honored the life and work of Gordon Parks, and how his remarkable life story taught us about artistic creativity, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in our lives.

“He picked up the camera to fight against the three things he hated the most in America; racism, poverty, and discrimination. He was the champion of social justice so his images helped fight against those things,” said Sharp.

His photography covered a broad spectrum of work including photojournalism, fashion, and portraiture. He was particularly known for his photographs highlighting civil rights and poverty, as well as the films he directed including “The Learning Tree” and “Shaft” movies.

Parks passed away over 15 years ago, but much of what he created is still significant to this day and people said Sharp’s lecture was powerful.