Stephen Shames (born 1947, in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is a veteran American photojournalist who for over 45 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 aPurpose Prize Fellow in 2010 by Encore.org for his work helping AIDS orphans and former child soldiers in Africa as founder of the Stephen Shames Foundation.
“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
Stephen Shames creates award winning photo essays on social issues for foundations, advocacy organizations, the media, and museums.
Steve is author of eight monographs: Bronx Boys (University of Texas Press, 2014) Outside the Dream, Pursuing the Dream, and The Black Panthers (Aperture), Facing Race (Monrovian College) Free to Grow (Columbia University), Transforming Lives (Star Bright Books), Bronx Boys e-book (FotoEvidence), Shames wrote and directed Friends of the Children, a video.
Steve’s images are in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery; International Center of Photography; The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley; The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; San Jose Art Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Ford Foundation; Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Baruch College; Oakland Museum; University Art Museum, Berkeley, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Elton John Foundation, and the Honickman Foundation. Steve’s two solo shows at the Steven Kasher Gallery, New York were reviewed by The New Yorker. Art projects include Interrupted Lives, an installation piece about an incarcerated woman and her daughter.
Steve has been profiled by People Magazine, CBS Sunday Morning. Esquire, US News, Ford Foundation Report, Photo District News, and American Photo (15 Most Underrated Photographers). The Ford, Charles Stewart Mott, Robert Wood Johnson, and Annie E. Casey Foundations have underwritten his work. He testified about child poverty to the US Senate; lectured at Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan, France; American Bar Association and Children’s Defense Fund national conferences. PBS named Hine, Wolcott, and Shames as photographers whose work promotes social change.
Outside the Dream won numerous awards including the Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism. Steve’s 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.
Other awards include: Luis Valtuña Humanitarian, World Hunger Year, Leica, International Center of Photography, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Foundation, World Press, and New York Art Director’s Club gave him awards. Clients include Newsweek, People, Esquire, US News, Time; The Ford Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, United Jewish Communities, and Independent Care System..
Long term photo projects not yet been published as books include: Dads (contribution of low income fathers to their commmunities); Street Kids (Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Romania, Honduras), We Are America, (how children view America after 9/11.), and Homicide in Houston (gun violence affects children.).
Steve 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: Art: Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Photojournalism: Polaris Images in New York.