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Stephen Shames

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Name  Stephen Shames

Stephen Shames Bronx BoysStephen Shames
Education  University of California, Berkeley
Books  The Black Panthers - Photographs by Stephen Shames
Awards  World Press Photo Award for People in the News
Similar  Lee Miller , Lynsey Addario , Cynthia Elbaum

Stephen shames documentary photographer

Stephen Shames (born 1947, in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is an American photojournalist who for over 50 years has used his photography to raise awareness of social issues, with a particular focus on child poverty, solutions to child poverty, and race. He testified about child poverty to the United States Senate in 1986. Shames was named a Purpose Prize Fellow in 2010 by for his work helping AIDS orphans and former child soldiers in Africa as founder of the Stephen Shames Foundation.


Stephen Shames photos by Stephen Shames everydayishow

Power to the people a conversation with stephen shames and bobby seale


Stephen Shames photos by Stephen Shames everydayishow

Shames is the author of nine photography book monographs: "Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers" (Abrams, 2016), co-authored with Bobby Seale, Outside the Dream: Child Poverty in America (Aperture), Pursuing the Dream: What Helps Children and Their Families Succeed(Aperture), The Black Panthers (Aperture), Bronx Boys' (University of Texas Press, 2014)', Facing Race, Free to Grow, and Transforming Lives; and an electronic book Bronx Boys (FotoEvidence, 2011). Shames wrote and directed two videos: Friends of the Children and Children of Northern Uganda. He produced a video with Ascencion Films: Sanyu & Ronald. Shames is affiliated with Polaris Images photo agency in New York.

Stephen Shames wwwstephenshamescomcontent2402cigarette6827

Shames’s images are in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography, New York; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; University of California’s Bancroft Library, Berkeley; San Jose Museum of Art; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC. He is represented by and has had three solo shows at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York.

Stephen Shames Stephen Shames PhotographerStephen Shames

He has received the Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism, and awards from Leica, International Center of Photography, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, World Press, and the New York Art Director’s Club. American Photo / Pop Photo named Shames one of the 15 most underrated masters of photography.

Child poverty work

Stephen Shames Stephen Shames39 photographs document coming of age in the

From 1984 to 1989, with support from the Children's Defense Fund and the Alicia Patterson Foundation, Shames traveled across America photographing the lives of the one out of five children in the United States who live below the poverty line. The photographs were published by Aperture in 1991 as Outside the Dream with an introduction by Jonathan Kozol. Shames' work documenting child poverty was also featured in the New York Times, as well as the Los Angeles Times.

Senator Bill Bradley said about the work: “Just as Walker Evans’ photographs helped America see the poverty of Appalachia, the vivid images in Outside the Dream will open our hearts to the deprivation that today afflicts not a region, but an entire generation.” In 1993, copies of Outside the Dream were distributed to every member of Congress, the governors of all 50 states, selected state legislators, and the chief executive officers of the Fortune 500 companies.

From 1994 to 1996, with support from the Ford Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Shames worked on a follow-up project to Outside the Dream that focused on community solutions to child poverty in America. The work was published in 1997 as Pursuing the Dream: What Helps Children and Their Families Succeed and includes a preface by Michael Jordan. Shames traveled across America documenting families participating in neighborhood programs where parents were empowered to learn the skills they needed to become better parents, get better jobs, and become role models for their children. President Jimmy Carter wrote about the book: “Stephen Shames has captured the spirit of thousands of programs across our country that are quietly but stubbornly making the lives of children and families better in spite of the bleak circumstances in which they live. … This book can inspire all of us to seek out the many opportunities already available in their own communities to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Humanitarian work in Africa

In 2006, Shames founded L.E.A.D Uganda, an NGO in Africa that locates forgotten children (AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, child laborers, and children living in Internally Displaced Person camps) and molds them into leaders by sending them to the best schools and colleges. One of the students was highlighted in a People Magazine feature in 2007. In 2012 Shames retired as Executive Director and returned to photography full-time.


  • Outside the Dream: Child Poverty in America (Aperture 1991)
  • Pursuing the Dream: What Helps Children and Their Families Succeed (Aperture 1997)
  • Free to Grow (Columbia University, 2003)
  • The Black Panthers (Aperture 2006)
  • Facing Race (Moravian College, 2008)
  • Transforming Lives (Star Bright Books 2009)
  • "Bronx Boys" electronic book (FotoEvidence, 2013)
  • Bronx Boys (University of Texas Press, 2014)
  • "Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers" (Abrams, 2016)
  • References

    Stephen Shames Wikipedia