Steve Schapiro is dead: the famous photojournalist was 87 years old
Steve Schapiro, a famed photojournalist whose work spanning the entertainment industry spawned lasting images from movies like “The Godfather” and “Taxi Driver,” died Sunday night of pancreatic cancer at his Chicago home. He was 87 years old.
Schapiro began his pursuit of photography at the age of nine, beginning with capturing New York. He then lived and studied with photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. During the 1960s, Schapiro’s photographs began to appear in publications such as Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and others.
He has also produced photographic reports with a sociological focus, dealing with subjects such as drug addiction, Easter in Harlem, the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy, migrant workers and Haight-Ashbury. Schapiro also considered himself an activist, covering stories related to the civil rights movement, including the March on Washington and the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
In the 1970s Schapiro began working for film companies, producing publicity material, publicity stills and posters for classics such as “The Godfather, Midnight Cowboy”, “First Blood”, “Risky Business” and ” The Way We Were”. Schapiro has also branched further into the entertainment world to create record covers and artwork for musicians such as Barbra Streisand and David Bowie.
Schapiro’s books have been reprinted in various civil rights and film-oriented magazines and books. Monographs of his work include “American Edge”, which recounts the political turbulence of the 1960s, and “Schapiro’s Heroes”, which offers profiles of ten personalities with whom the photographer has collaborated: Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Martin Luther King Jr. ., Robert Kennedy, Ray Charles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Barbra Streisand and Truman Capote.
Schapiro was launched into the world of museum exhibition after being featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Harlem on My Mind” in 1969. He has been featured in programs about the civil rights movement and in personal retrospectives. He continued to work late in his life. In 2017, Schapiro won the Lucie Award for his achievements in photojournalism. His work is present in numerous private and public collections, including the Smithsonian Museum, the High Museum of Art, the New York Metropolitan Museum and the Getty Museum.
Schapiro is survived by Maura Smith, his wife of 39 years; sons Theophilus Donoghue and Adam Shapiro; and his daughters Elle Harvey and Taylor Schapiro. The family is asking that donations in Schapiro’s memory be sent to Saint Sabina Church in Chicago, where the late photographer visited regularly.