Stephen Shames.

Stephen Shames photograph archive.

The Briscoe Center has acquired the photographic archive of Stephen Shames. Perhaps best known for his role as the Black Panther Party’s photographer between 1967 and 1973, Shames has also documented many political and social issues over a 50-year career.

“Shames has used his camera to document the intimate histories of a wide range of subjects, including black political activism in the Bay Area, everyday life in New York City, and child poverty across America,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “His archive will not only be preserved here at the center, it will be actively utilized in our mission to foster exploration of the American past, which is why a selection of his work prints is currently on display in the center’s exhibit hall.”


“As a young man I was privileged to have inside access to the Black Panther Party. Later, as a photojournalist and artist I traveled the world and embedded myself in the lives of many living on the edges of society,” said Stephen Shames. “I hope students and scholars can use these archives to enter worlds they cannot see in person, but can experience through historic photography. I learned a great deal from the people I photographed. I hope others can expand their knowledge and understanding of our world through my work.”

An exhibit of Stephen Shames’s photography is now on display at the Briscoe Center, University of Texas at Austin. You can read more here.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    The photos give faces for the Black Panther Party. For example, I’d only seen the picture of Elaine Brown because I was curious about the original version of the song “Seize the Time” after having heard a cover in Finnish by a Finnish Communist artist (actress and singer Kristiina Halkola).

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