The Black Panthers Portfolio

by Stephen Shames


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Aperture is pleased to offer this limited-edition portfolio of three photographs. "For me, the most important part of the Black Panthers' legacy is a belief that one can affect change even when things seem hopeless." —Stephen Shames In the midst of the largely nonviolent Civil Rights movement sweeping through America, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the legendary Black Panther Party, in 1966, in Oakland, California. The party burst onto the scene with a militant vision for social change and the empowerment of African-Americans. Its methods were highly controversial and polarizing, so much so that in 1968, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover described the organization as the country's greatest threat to internal security. During the height of the movement, from 1967 to 1973, photographer Stephen Shames had unprecedented access to the organization and captured not only its public face—street demonstrations, protests, and militant armed posturing—but also behind-the-scenes moments, from private meetings held in its headquarters to Bobby Seale at work on his mayoral campaign in Oakland. Shames's prolific output has produced the largest archive of Panther images in the world. His remarkable insider status enabled him to create an uncommonly nuanced portrait of this dynamic social movement, during one of the most tumultuous periods in U.S. history.

Portfolio of Three Gelatin-Silver Prints
Image Size: 12 x 8 inches
Paper Size: 11 x 14 inches
Edition of 15 + 3 Artist Proofs
Signed and numbed by the artist

Prints included in this portfolio:
Bobby Seale speaks at a Free Huey rally in DeFremery Park, Oakland, California, 1968
At home, Huey P. Newton listens to Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, Berkeley, 1970
Glen Wheeler and Claudia Grayson, known as Sister Sheeba, stand outside George Jackson’s funeral at St. Augustine’s Church, Oakland, California, August 1971

About the Artist

Stephen Shames‘s (b. 1947, Cambridge, Massachusetts) photographs 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 Art Museum; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Shames is founder of the Stephen Shames Foundation, which puts AIDS orphans and child soldiers into school in Uganda. He is represented by Steven Kasher Gallery, New York, and Polaris Images. He currently resides in Brooklyn.