The 1960s are often heralded as ‘the golden age of photojournalism’ and this is reflected in Schapiro’s output in the decade, a selection of which will be on display in Heroes. His photographs of key moments of the Civil Rights Movement, particularly the Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965, still resonate today. Schapiro spent time with Andy Warhol and captured the artist’s entourage and his meeting with the Velvet Underground in 1965, who would become part of Warhol’s ‘Silver Factory’ scene. Schapiro was a master of capturing his subjects at ease, illustrated in a candid shot of Muhammad Ali playing monopoly and his portraits of Robert Kennedy on the campaign trail in 1968.
In the 1970s prevalence of picture-led magazines began to fade and Schapiro turned his attention to film. Having produced extraordinary photographs on the set of Midnight Cowboy, he was hired as the photographer for The Godfather (1972) and two years later for Taxi Driver (1976). The results are some of the most iconic portraits of American cinema featuring actors Marlon Brando and Robert de Niro
In 1974, Schapiro seized upon a rare invitation from David Bowie’s manager for a private photo session with the musician in Los Angeles.
‘From the moment Bowie arrived, we seemed to hit it off. Incredibly intelligent, calm, and filled with ideas. He talked a lot about Aleister Crowley, whose esoteric writings he was heavily into at the time. When David heard that I had photographed Buster Keaton, one of his greatest heroes, we instantly became friends.’
The results of this collaboration between Bowie and Schapiro produced some of the most iconic album art from the decade, including Station to Station and Low. Some previously unexhibited photographs from the photo shoot will be on display in the exhibition for the first time to coincide with the new book, Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro published by Power House Books will be released on 25 April 2016.
Born in New York in 1934, Steve Schapiro began taking photographs at the age of 9. He originally aimed to be a writer but decided to devote himself to photojournalism and was taught by William Eugene Smith. In 1961 he embarked on a career as a freelance photographer and captured key historical moments of the 1960s, working for Life, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Time and Paris Match amongst others. Schapiro’s work has been exhibited internationally and was included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1968 exhibition Harlem On My Mind and more recently Warhol Underground at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. His work is held in the collections of the Smithsonian, The High Museum and the National Portrait Gallery amongst others and is the subject of six, American Edge, Schapiro's Heroes, The Godfather Family Album, Taxi Driver, Then and Now, and Bliss.