The Capa Space presents “American Moments: John Shearer

The Capa Space to Present Exhibition of Photographs of Acclaimed Photojournalist John Shearer Who Captured Iconic Images of Major Historical Events in 1960s-1970s

“American Moments: John Shearer” Opens on December 9

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY (October 2023) – The Capa Space is proud to present an exhibition of more than 30 photographs by acclaimed photojournalist John Shearer who captured iconic images of major historical events in the 1960s-1970s, including the funeral of President John F. Kennedy.

“American Moments: John Shearer” will be on view from December 9, 2023 through April 7, 2024. Gallery hours are Thurs., Fri., Sat. and Sun. 1pm-5pm. Admission is free. An opening reception will take place on December 9th from 6-8pm.

At just age 17, Shearer took a poignant photograph of young John Jr. saluting his father’s casket, despite being knocked down by Secret Service agents. This propelled Shearer’s career as one of the few Black photographers at major publications like Look and Life magazines.

Shearer leveraged his unique perspective as a Black photojournalist to document the civil rights movement. He followed the Black Panthers, KKK, and Dr. King’s 1968 funeral, showing grieving Black mourners and hateful whites. During the 1971 Attica prison uprising, inmates initially only allowed Shearer inside to photograph. Colleagues said Shearer searched for the humanity in all he captured.

Born in 1947 in Harlem, Shearer was self-taught and won over 175 photography awards. He met resistance as a Black photographer, once nearly being lynched in Alabama. But Shearer felt his “war” was documenting racial struggles at home. He worked to portray the downtrodden with dignity, not through a pathological lens.

Shearer, who lived in Katonah for many years before his death in 2019, was one of the few African American photographers on staff at major publications in the 1960s. He studied graphic design and pursued photography after serving in the Army. Shearer later reflected that his race gave him unique access to subjects and communities as a photographer. He built trust and captured intimate moments during the Watts riots, with Black Panthers leaders, and inside prisons.

Shearer’s compassionate, unflinching photographs provided unique insight into a turbulent time in America. His work appeared in the New York Times, Ebony, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, among other outlets. Shearer brought nuance and humanity to charged issues of race, poverty, and justice. His visual storytelling cemented his reputation as an important voice of social documentary photography.

Link to interview in Westchester Magazine:

The Capa Space is located at 2467 Quaker Church Road, Yorktown Heights. Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1pm – 5 pm. For more information about The Capa Space, please visit

(photo: Collection Neuberger Museum of Art Purchase College, State University of New York
Gift of the artist)

About The Capa Space

The Capa Space is an education and exhibition center created to foster and advance the belief that the community can use photography to advance concepts of peace, equality and justice. The Capa Space is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Robert and Cornell Capa’s work as “concerned” photographers. The Capa Space is a place where people gather to create, view and learn about photography. We aim to inspire visitors to participate in the creative process by illustrating the power of photography as a catalyst for social action. Gallery Hours: Thurs, Fri., Sun. 1pm – 5pm and Sat. 11am – 5pm. School Trips: Contact us at