Memo Pad: The Parks Portfolio... Income Levels Up... Bonjour Grazia...

Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman were wary of being photographed by Gordon Parks.

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THE PARKS PORTFOLIO: Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman were wary of being photographed by Gordon Parks. The young photographer took his first trip to Italy in 1949, to the set of “Stromboli,” where he spent the first day there observing the artists — but by the next he had won them over. His shots from that time — including the black-and-white portrait of Bergman trying to avoid a staring group of Sicilian women — are illustrative of his process with anyone before his lens, from Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, to Gloria Vanderbilt and Marilyn Monroe. Known by many as a former photographer for Vogue, followed by a long career at Life magazine, an exhibit of Parks’ work debuts today at the Gallery at Hermès. The exhibition is curated by Peter W. Kunhardt Jr., who is the assistant director of the Gordon Parks Foundation and Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation, and the grandson of former Life managing editor Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. “I came to know Gordon very well,” said Kunhardt, who went to Parks’ apartment after he died three years ago to gather all of his old photographs. “He was a Renaissance man, easily going from one thing to the next.” In addition to photography, Parks was a writer and directed the films “Shaft” and “The Learning Tree.” For the Hermès show, Kunhardt has put together a thematic exhibit of 42 photos involving fashion, artists, Life essays, civil rights workers, residents of Harlem, and Parks’ early life in Fort Scott, Kan. The exhibit will run until June 30. — Amy Wicks

RDA SEES LOSS: Reader’s Digest Association reported a $462 million loss for the third quarter, compared with a loss of $53.6 million during the same period the prior year. RDA hasn’t finalized its interim impairment analysis yet but it has recorded an estimated noncash asset impairment charge of $527.1 million. Revenues during the quarter fell almost 17 percent, to $479.1 million, and the company reported an operating loss of $535.9 million, versus $8.2 million in the third quarter of 2008. — A.W.

INCOME LEVELS UP: The ad business may be as depressing as it gets, but reader income levels at some titles are managing to defy the recession’s gravity. W magazine scored the largest percentage increase in female household income — and largest figure overall — up 20 percent to $86,539, according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence’s spring 2009 figures. Female readers of Lucky came in a close second, with average income up 1.8 percent to $83,979, followed by In Style, up 6 percent to $83,695. Marie Claire was up 3.4 percent to $75,368, while Elle also rose 6 percent, to $71,964, and O, The Oprah Magazine increased 6.6 percent to $72,922. Ranking income levels, that of Glamour’s female readers’ was essentially flat, at $66,142, while Harper’s Bazaar was up 2 percent to $65,003, Vogue fell 2 percent to $64,828, and Town & Country was up 3.8 percent to $62,995. Allure reported a decline of 9.5 percent to $59,324 and Cosmopolitan was down 3.5 percent to $57,298.

Giving a bit more detail about W’s readers, Nina Lawrence, the title’s vice president and publisher, said that starting in October 2008, the luxury market was hit harder than total U.S. retail sales, a trend that continued through April. In a new study on what luxury fashion consumers are thinking now, W found that during the last six months, most designer fashion purchases (80 percent) were made “on sale.” And sales are creating “addicts,” but so far, they are not damaging luxury’s value. — A.W.

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