PRESS RELEASE

Steven Kasher Gallery is pleased to present The Black Panthers: Vintage Prints by Stephen Shames, an exhibition of photographs commemorating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party.  The Black Panthers: Vintage Prints by Stephen Shames brings together a remarkable collection of over 50 never-before- exhibited vintage prints from 1967-1973, exhibited alongside new limited-edition prints.  All prints are available for purchase. 

At the tail end of the largely nonviolent Civil Rights Movement, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the legendary Black Panther Party in 1966 in Oakland, California.  The Party, revered by some and vilified by others, burst onto the scene with a revolutionary agenda for social change and the empowerment of African-Americans.   Its methods were so polarizing that in 1969, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover designated the organization as the country’s greatest threat to internal security.

During the height of the Party’s activities, from 1967 to 1973, photographer Stephen Shames had unprecedented access to the organization.  He captured not only its public face — street demonstrations, protests, and militant posturing — but also unscripted behind-the-scenes moments, such as private meetings held in the Party headquarters, scenes from the Panther schools and free meal programs, and Bobby Seale at work on his mayoral campaign in Oakland. 

Stephen Shames’s Black Panther pictures were taken while he was still a student at the University of California, Berkley.  Their immediacy and intimacy connect less to the prevalent photojournalistic styles of the day, and connect more to the inside-view documentary styles of Danny Lyon and Larry Clark.

Stephen Shames creates award-winning photo essays on social issues for magazines, books, foundations, advocacy organizations, and museums. His Aperture publications include Outside the Dream, Pursuing the Dream, and The Black Panthers.

Stephen Shames’s images are in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography, the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the University of California’s Bancroft Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He has received awards from Kodak (Crystal Eagle for Impact in Photojournalism), World Hunger Year, Leica, the International Center of Photography, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Foundation.

For reproduction scans contact Maria Stenina: maria@stevenkasher.com