“Stephen Shames is a tremendous asset to the disadvantaged children of this nation….His photographs have helped bring the plight of poor children to the mainstream public.” — Marian Wright Edelman
“In trying to promote social change by arousing public opinion, Mr. Shames follows in the honored tradition of Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine.” — The New York Times
Stephen Shames creates award winning photo essays on social issues for foundations, advocacy organizations, the media, and museums.
•• Author of ten monographs.
•• Steve’s images are in the permanent collections of 30 museums and foundations.
•• Outside the Dream won numerous awards including the Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism.
•• 2008 bus shelter and subway ads for the NYC DADS campaign of the City of New York received a Pollie award from American Association of Political Consultants.
** PBS named Hine, Wolcott, and Shames as photographers whose work promotes social change. American Photo called him one of the “15 Most Underrated Photographers”.
** Profiled by People Magazine, CBS Sunday Morning. Esquire, US News, Ford Foundation Report, Photo District News.
** The Ford, Charles Stewart Mott, Robert Wood Johnson, and Annie E. Casey Foundations have underwritten his work.
** Started an NGO which locates forgotten children (AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, and children living in refugee camps) with innate talents and molds them into leaders by sending them to the best schools and colleges.
Steve is represented by:
Photojournalism: Polaris Images in New York.
Stephen Shames: Une Retrospective (Red Eye, 2017),
Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers by Stephen Shames and Bobby Seale (Abrams, 2016).
Bronx Boys (University of Texas Press, 2014)
The Black Panthers (Aperture, 2006). Foreword: Bobby Seale. Essay: Charles Jones
Outside the Dream: Child Poverty in America (Aperture & Children’s Defense Fund, 1991). Introduction by Jonathan Kozol. Afterward by Marian Wright Edelman. Outside the Dream received numerous prizes including the Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism.
Facing Race: 21st Century Americans (Moravian College, 2008). Essays by Gregory Howard Williams, Marian Wright Edelman, Alex Kotlowitz, Anne Dutlinger. Portraits of multiracial Americans.
Pursuing the Dream: What Helps Children and Their Families Succeed (Aperture & Family Support America, 1997). Preface: Michael Jordan. Essay: Roger Rosenblatt. Text: Kathy Wolf. Pursuing the Dream, funded by The Ford, Robert Wood Johnson, and Charles Stewart Mott Foundations; Kodak and Canon, shows solutions to the problems outlined in Outside the Dream.
Bronx Boys (FotoEvidence, 2011) An electronic photo book.
Transforming Lives: Turning Uganda’s Forgotten Children into Leaders. (Star Bright, 2009) Essay: Pete Norman.
Free to Grow (Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 2003) Text: Peter Meyer.
Conversation (Photo Doc Gallery, 2018) Photographs by Stephen Shames and Tish Murtha.
The Way Home (Harry Abrams, 1999) Photographs by Stephen Shames, Tipper Gore, Mary Ellen Mark, Annie Liebowitz, etc., Sponsors: National Alliance to End Homelessness & Corcoran Art Gallery.
Homeless in America (Acropolis, 1988) Photographs by Stephen Shames, Mary Ellen Mark, etc. Homeless in America Photographic Project. Sponsors: Tipper Gore, Chair; Barbara Bush, Honorary Patron.
Empower Zone (Aperture & EZ/EC Foundation Consortium, 2000) Photographs by youth photographers living in Empowerment Zones who were mentored by Steve.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
African-American Museum of History & Culture | Smithsonian
National Portrait Gallery | Smithsonian
International Center of Photography, New York
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Nationa Civil Rights Museum, Memphia, TN
San Jose Art Museum
The Oakland Museum of CA
Philadelphia Museum of Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Fondation Sindika Dokolo, Luanda, Angola
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Exeter Academy, Andover, MA
National Museum of American History | Smithsonian, Washington
University Art Museum, Berkeley
Baruch College, New York
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richomnd, VA
Elton John Foundation
The Ford Foundation, New York
di Rosa, Napa, California
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
Family Support America, Chicago
Education Trust, Washington
Children’s Defense Fund, Washington
The Honickman Foundation, Philadelphia
World Hunger Year, New York
Chinagraph, New York
The Joe Baio Collection, New York
Hey! What’s Going On? exhibit: Black Panther 10-Point Portfolio with Bobby Seale – Fondation Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Arles, France
Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography (group) – Metropolitan Museum
Black Panther Party 10 Point Portfolio with Bobby Seale – Photo Doc Gallery, Paris
Black Panther Party 10 Point Portfolio with Bobby Seale – Photo Doc Fair, Paris
Whose University: TWLF Strike (group) – Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley
Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives from 50 Years Later – National Park Service & Oakland Public Library
Elements of Vogue: A Case Study on Radical Performance (group) – CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid, Spain
Elements of Vogue: A Case Study on Radical Performance (group) – Chop Museum, national University of Mexico, Mexico City.
History of Health & Disease in Brooklyn (group) – Brooklyn Historical Society
Magnum / Aperture Print Sale (group) – Aperture, New York
Living Unfinished Business – Slavery & Justice Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Power to the People – Kyotographie International Photo Festoval, Kyoto, Japan
Power to the People – Maison Folie Moulins, Lille, France
Stephen Shames: A Retrospective – La Chambre, Strasbourg, France
Conversation: Stephen Shames & Trish Myrtha – Photo Doc Gallery, Paris
Conversation: Stephen Shames & Trish Myrtha – Photo Doc Fair, Paris
Way Bay 2: Group Show – UC Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA
The Black Panthers – Steven Kasher Gallery at Paris Photo.
Stephen Shames: A Retrospective – Musée Nicéphore-Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France
Stephen Shames: A Retrospective – Le Centre Culturel Valery-Larbaud, Vichy, France
Stephen Shames: A Retrospective – Maison de la photographie Robert Doisneau, Gentilly, France
Black Power 50 (group) – Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York
HIP HOP : un âge d’or 1970–1995… (group) – Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France
Resistors: 50 Years of Social Movement Photography (group) – Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley
Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers – Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Black Power (group) – The African-American Museum| Smithsonian
All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 (group) – The Oakland Museum of CA
Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers – Graduate School of Journalism Gallery, University of California at Berkeley
Object Power (group) – National Museum of American History | Smithsonian
Bronx Boys – Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amhearst
Aperture: Photographs (group) – UBS Bank, New York
1960s Peace Movement – Historic Vietnam Peace Commemoration, Washington
Bronx Boys – Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Glenn Ligon: Encounters & Collisions (group) – Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK in partnership with Tate Liverpool,
Heated Words [Bronx Boys photos] (group) – House of Vans, London, United Kingdom
American Cool (group) – National Portrait Gallery | Smithsonian
Black Power (group) – National Civil Rights Museum
Fellowships and Grants
2003 Knight International Press Fellowship.
2001 Annie E. Casey Foundation.
1999 EZ / EC Foundation Consortium.
1994-96 The Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Eastman Kodak, Canon USA, Leica, and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts.
1992 NNPPA – Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant.
1987 Homeless in America Photographic Project .
1985 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship
National and International Awards (selected)
Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Excellence in Photojournalism
World Hunger Year,
Leica Medal of Excellence in Photojournalism (3 times)
Luis Valtuña Humanitarian
International Center of Photography (Special Recognition)
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards (2nd & 3rd)
New York Art Director’s Club, (Gold)
Gordon Parks (twice)
Rochester Film Festival.
W. Eugene Smith Grant finalist (twice),
Open Society finalist.
Canon Photo Essay • Judges Special Recognition
Society of Newspaper Design (Silver, 2 times)
Society of Publication Designers – Annual
American Photography – Annual (2 times)
Communication Arts – Photography Annual (2 times)
FotoFest Publishing Conference – 2nd Place
NPPA, Pictures of the Year. (many times)
NPPA • Newspaper Photog of the Year – Award of Excellence
The Villers Foundation
American Association of Political Consultants – Pollie Award (silver) for NYC DADS campaign.