Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Black Panthers: Vintage Prints By Stephen Shames

Shoot-Up at Panther Office in Oakland Stephen Shames... Shoot-Up at Panther Office in Oakland (1969, Vintage gelatin silver print). From The Black Panthers: Vintage Prints By Stephen Shames at Steven Kasher Gallery. "...At the tail end of the largely nonviolent Civil Rights Movement, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the legendary Black Panther Party in 1966 in Oakland, California. The Party, revered by some and vilified by others, burst onto the scene with a revolutionary agenda for social change and the empowerment of African-Americans. Its methods were so polarizing that in 1969, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover designated the organization as the country’s greatest threat to internal security.
During the height of the Party’s activities, from 1967 to 1973, photographer Stephen Shames had unprecedented access to the organization. He captured not only its public face — street demonstrations, protests, and militant posturing — but also unscripted behind-the-scenes moments, such as private meetings held in the Party headquarters, scenes from the Panther schools and free meal programs, and Bobby Seale at work on his mayoral campaign in Oakland.
Stephen Shames’s Black Panther pictures were taken while he was still a student at the University of California, Berkley. Their immediacy and intimacy connect less to the prevalent photojournalistic styles of the day, and connect more to the inside-view documentary styles of Danny Lyon and Larry Clark."


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