Society, people, and class — these are just a few things that are explored in the work of American photographer Stephen Shames. For seven years, he took it upon himself to document the inner workings of the Black Panthers political party and the images he captured are nothing short of remarkable.
Shames was able to capture a movement that was an easy target for tirades due to its controversial, and most of the time, polarizing nature. Spending great lengths of time with the Panthers, Shames immersed himself in their lives in order to capture an intimate portrait. With a sharp eye and a discerning mind, Shames was able to handle such a volatile topic thoughtfully. He captured images that showed a different side to the organization — one that was focused on the welfare of the people they were fighting for.
An ongoing exhibition titled Power to the People, The Black Panther showcases 60 photographs by Shames, 30 of which have never before been published. The photographs will be on display at the Maison Folie Moulins in Lille, France until the 6th of January, 2019. Francois Cheval and Audrey Hoareau curated the eye-opening exhibit in cooperation with The Red Eye. A variety of events like meetings, conferences, workshops, and projections are also set to accompany the photography exhibition.
The power of photography as a catalyst for social awareness proves to be relevant time and time again. It has this ability to engage people and open their minds to new ideas, realities, and truths — its beauty lies in its capacity to awaken and inspire.
All information used in this article was sourced from Maison Folie Moulins.