“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 eleven monographs.
•• Steve’s images are in the permanent collections of 42 international 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 PeopleCBS Sunday MorningEsquireUS NewsFord Foundation Report.
** 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:
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris and Geneva (vintage & contemporary art prints)
Steven Kasher Gallery, New York (vintage & contemporary art prints
Polaris Images, New York (editorial & stock)

Monographs & Zines

Stephen Shames: a life in photography Essay by Jeffrey Henson Scales (Kehrer Verlag, 2024). Available Fall, 2024
Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party by Stephen Shames & Ericka Huggins (ACC Art Books, 2022)
Youth a zine (Dashwood, 2023)
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)
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.
The Black Panthers (Aperture, 2006). Foreword: Bobby Seale. Essay: Charles Jones
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.
Stephen Shames: Une Retrospective
(Red Eye, 2017)
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.

Other Books

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.

Self-Published Monographs

Free Angela (Quiddity, 2021)
Stephen Hawking (Quiddity, 2023)
9/11 (Quiddity, 2021)
Some People (Quiddity, 2021)
We Are America (Quiddity, 2021)
I Like You Too (Quiddity, 2021)

Self-Published Zines

Street Kids & Runaways
Street Life Brazil
Black Lives Matter
US-Mexican Border
The Beach Brazil
Street Kids of Bangladesh
Street Kids Romania
Child Labor
Kids in Jail United States
Jews of India
Polaroid Dreams
Collages (Horizontal)
Collages (Vertical)
Baby Cat

Permanent Collections

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York
Metropolitan Museum, New York
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
African-American Museum of History and Culture | Smithsonian
National Portrait Gallery | Smithsonian
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin
George Eastman Museum
International Center of Photography, New York
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York
New York Public Library
Harvard Radcliffe Institute -Schlesinger Library
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
McEvoy Foundation of the Arts;
Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College
Elton John Foundation
The Ford Foundation, New York
di Rosa, Napa, California
Pier 24, San Francisco
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
Family Support America, Chicago
Davidson College, Davidson, NC
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


Comrade Sisters: Women of the BPP – Arles Les Recontres de la Photographie
Comrade Sisters: Women of the BPP – Centre de la photgraphie de Mougins, France
Alcatraz Indians – National Park Service on Alcatraz Island

Comrade Sisters: Women of the BPP – Museum Fine Arts – Boston
Comrade Sisters: Women of the BPP – Free Library of Philadelphia
Comrade Sisters: Women of the BPP – Dolph Briscoe Center, University of Texas at Austin

Galerie Esther Woerdehoff Booth – London Photo, London
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff Booth – Art Paris, Paris
Black Panthers – Tbilisi Festival, Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia
Angela Davis – Seize the Time (group) – Oakland Museum of CA, Oakland

United Indians of All Trines Foundation (group) – Sacred Circle Gallery, Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, Seattle
Flower of the Word group exhibit – Kunsthalle Wien Austria
Esprit urbain group exhibit – Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris
London Photo: Childhood & Youth – Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris
Angela Davis – Seize the Time (group) – Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, New Brunswick, NJ
Enlivened, Aware, Awake: Symbols of Activism (group) – Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College,Saratoga Springs, NY

London Photo: Childhood & Youth – Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris
London Photo: Black Panther – Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Leesons of the Hour (group) – McEvoy Foundation of the Arts, San Francisco
Stephen Shames: Vintage Prints – Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris
Vivre la frontière (group) – Perpignan, France

Incarnations: African Art as Philosphy (group) – Bozar/Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, Belgium
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, Leica, and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts.
1992 NNPPA – Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant.
1987 Homeless in America Photographic Project .
1985 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship

Awards (selected)

Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Excellence in Photojournalism
World Hunger Year,
World Press,
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.

© 2024 Stephen Shames / POLARIS PORTFOLIO