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Stephen Shames : Vintages

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For its first exhibition of the year, the Esther Woerdehoff gallery presents vintage prints of Stephen Shames, a great American documentary photographer born in 1947. The young people Stephen Shames photographed in the late 1970s, in the best of the American documentary photographic tradition, were born poor in America, abandoned by adults and institutions, plagued by the violence of society. Stephen Shames becomes their spokesperson. Through his photographs and their dissemination, in particular in the form of books with engaged purpose, he insists on the idea that it is poverty which is at the root of all social problems and criminal behavior. Projected into adulthood, unprotected, the very young people whom Shames photographs bear witness to, without pathos or staging. The photographer’s social and political commitment, which began his career in the 1960s as a columnist for the Black Panther Party, was confirmed in these reports, often produced over several years. The photographer lives by their side and records the dramatic density of their daily lives, in black and white photographs full of emotion and brute force. Stephen Shames was...

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