The American photographer Steve Schapiro, who died earlier this month, aged 87, was always on the move.
The year 1963 saw the Bronx native on a tour of the American South with James Baldwin, his shots from that trip (including ones of a young John Lewis) illustrating subsequent editions of The Fire Next Time. In 1965 he chronicled Martin Luther King Jr.’s march to Montgomery. In ’66 he traveled with the Robert F. Kennedy campaign, and in ’68 he flew to Memphis, this time to photograph King’s motel room in the hours after he was assassinated. Between trips Schapiro stayed local, capturing Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, and the jazz pianist Bill Evans out on the town.
He went west, too. In the 1970s, Schapiro shifted his attention to film, moving to Los Angeles to document the movie business. Long before iPhones, iPads, and Instagram were ubiquitous, Schapiro’s photos—Gene Wilder in a scene from The World’s Greatest Lover; Cher on her TV show; Dolly Parton on the set of 9 to 5—revealed a personal, playful side of the stars only ever seen on the silver screen. These photos also reveal a different side of the photographer, who until that point was known primarily for the seriousness of his social-justice causes: humor. —Julia Vitale