Theodore's striking portraiture merges real and hypothesized or mythological black experiences, often set within environments under threat of disappearance. His series "These Subtle Declarations" encapsulates the contradictions and nuances involved with constructing representations of blackness.

All works courtesy of the artist and Steven Kasher Gallery.


Finding You When I'm Not LookinG

Archival pigment print
24 x 18 in. (frame)
Ed. of 15

All I Ever Wanted Was A Reason To Be

Archival pigment print
24 x 18 in. (frame)
Ed. of 15


Archival pigment print
24 x 18 in. (frame)
Ed. of 15


From the artist:

"My goals as an artist, a photographer, shifts depending on the project I’m working on. Preservation, is a dynamic tool to activate memories, not just to ‘store’ them, so to speak. I like to place objects in ways that the viewer would have to render themselves free from an understanding of chronological order, I work to make people see reality in new ways. . . . The work I do, any of my projects, the meaning behind it all is meant to challenge the understanding of black reality." 

- Interview for 2 Black Grits, June 2017



b. 1970, Stuttgart
Currently based in Philadelphia, PA


2000 Temple University, BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising


2018 The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship, Nominee

2018 Magnum Foundation Fund: Nominee

2016 The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship: Nominee


2017-18 SPACES - Artist in Residence Village of Arts and Humanities Project: "Home Court"

Solo Exhibitions

2017 'Church of Broken Pieces' | Richard Beavers Gallery, NYC | Curator, Richard Beavers

2017 'Future Antebellum' | Art Sanctuary, Philadelphia, PA | Curators, James Claiborne and Noah Smalls

2017 'Ctrl+P' | Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 'Church of Broken Pieces' | African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA | Curator, Brittany Webb

2016 ‘Shawn Theodore, xST' | Breakfast, Santa Barbara, CA

2015 ‘The Avenues’, Painted Bride Art Center | Philadelphia, PA

2014 ‘Storyville Presents: The A / V / E : The Audio Visual Experiment’ | Scribe Video Center'

2014 ‘The Avenues, Uptown & GTown’ | Imperfect Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Murals & Outdoors

2017 ‘Aizen’ mural at 990 Spring Garden, in conjunction with the Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA

2017 Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition | Curator, Conrad Benner

Group Exhibitions

2018 Refraction: New Photography of Africa and Its Diaspora, Steven Kasher Gallery, Chelsea, NYC | Curators, Cassandra Johnson and Niama Sandy

2018 Legacy of the Cool: A Tribute to Barkley L. Hendricks | The Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt, Boston, MA | Curator, Darci Hanna

2018 Shabazz / Theodore: The Photography of Jamel Shabazz and Shawn Theodore | SNAP! Space, Orlando, FL | Curators, Patrick and Holly Khan

2017 PRIZM Art Fair | Art Basel week, Miami, FL

2017 'InVision Photo Festival' | Bethlehem, PA

2017 'We Are Stronger Together' | Rush Arts Philadelphia, in partnership with The Barnes Foundation and Art Sanctuary | Curator, Oshun D. Layne

2017 ‘Other Articulations of the Real’ | The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY

2016 PRIZM Art Fair | Art Basel week, Miami, FL

2016 'OFF WHITE’ | MoCADA Museum, Brooklyn NYC | Curator, Akintola Hanif

2015 'PPAC 6th Annual Contemporary Photography Competition & Exhibition' | Philadelphia, PA


2017 Participant/Actor in 'Duchamp in the Congo (Suburban Invasion)' 1999/2017 | Sanford Biggers, Xaviera Simmons and Michael Stablein | The Barnes Foundation ‘Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie’


2018 Let’s Connect: Philly’s Artists Take on the Barnes

2018 Lyric - Creative Suites for the Modern Traveler (Philadelphia, Minnesota, Dallas)

2017 ‘Fevered Dreams, Fractured Times’, Mark Jason Weston at Imperfect Gallery

Artist Talks, Panels, and Lectures

2018 REFRACTION: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA at AIPAD Niama Safia Sandy, Curator, and Artists Nona Faustine, Adama Delphine Fawundu, and Shawn Theodore A discussion of the upcoming exhibition Refraction: New Photography of Africa and its Diaspora on view at Steven Kasher Gallery from April 19 through June 2, 2018, which looks at reframing blackness through visual art and challenging existing representations of black life.

2018 PhotoNative 2018, Provo, UT | Street Portraiture: Best Practices & Methods

2018 Creative Photography Mentor | Village Arts |  Philadelphia

2017 Art Sanctuary, closing reception artist talk with host/moderator Sharon Chestnut | Philadelphia, PA

2017 Art Sanctuary, artist talk with PaFA Low-Res students | Philadelphia, PA

2017 National Constitution Center 'Revolutionary: Artist Panel’ A conversation with four of the Revolutionary artists – Shawn Theodore, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Lisa Kelley, and Yasmine Mustafa | Philadelphia, PA

2017 African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA' Films at AAMP: ‘A Moving Image’ Screening & Artists’ Talk. Activist, scholar and artist Nehad Khader will moderate a discussion and audience Q&A between director Shola Amoo and photographer, Shawn Theodore.

2017 African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA' Films at AAMP: ‘Black Girl + Merkato' A conversation between filmmaker Sosena Solomon and photographer Shawn Theodore.

2017 Philadelphia Weekly: Picture power: Photography and women’s empowerment collide with Oh, Snap! at the PPAC

2016 First Person Arts Festival, National Museum of American Jewish History - Panelist, ‘My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me' | Philadelphia, PA

2016 First Person Arts Festival, WHYY Studios, Philadelphia, PA Panelist ’A Letter to My Father / A Letter to My Son' City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and First Person Arts | Philadelphia, PA

2016 Virginia Commonwealth University - Guest Lecturer ‘The Black Artist In Perspective’ interview with with African American Studies instructor Chioke I’Anson, PhD | Richmond, VA

2016 Temple University, Aperture Agency - Guest Lecturer | Philadelphia, PA


2017 Apple, Instagram Launch Campaign: Instyle, Yahoo Finance, TIME

2016 Apple, QWERTY Campaign. Officially premiered during ‘Apple Special Event, October 2016’

Features Articles

2018 Musée Magazine: A Photographic Re-imaging of Black Past and Black Future with Shawn Theodore

2018 New York Times: Black With (Some) White Privilege

2018 PDN 'Photo of the Day' 2/8 ”Dubhe” from Future Antebellum series. 2017 © Shawn Theodore

2018 PDN 'Photo of the Day' 2/8 On the Streets with Jamel Shabazz and Shawn Theodore

2017 OkayAfrica: This Photo Series Is a Portal to New Dimensions of Black Life

2017 Blavity: 'Philadelphia Artist Shawn Theodore Conveys The Essence Of Black Excellence In His Latest Exhibit'

2017 6ABC: '6ABC Loves the arts: AAMP 40th anniversary celebration'

2017 CBS3: African-American Museum Of Philadelphia Celebrates 40 Years

2017 Fox29 Local Good Day: photog’s 1st museum show after inspiring Moonlight’s cinematographer

2017 Blavity: '10 Dope Photographers That Should Be In Your Instagram Feed'

2017 VSCO: 'Frame of Reference, Shawn Theodore'

2017 CBSPhilly: 'Philly Street Artist Gets Exhibit At African American Museum'

2017 6ABC Visions 2017: Celebrating Black History Month'

2017 NBC10: 'NBC10 Celebrates Black History Month'

2017 'Philly's Instagram-famous street photographer gets his first museum show'

2017 '8 ways to celebrate Black History Month in Philadelphia'

2017 PhillyVoice: 'Local street photographer's work to be displayed in African American Museum'

2016 Huffington Post: "Dreamlike Photos Capture The ‘Vanishing Landscape’ Of Black Life In America"

2016 Culture Type: 'The 24 Best Art Magazine Covers of 2016'  

2016 ThandieKay: ‘In conversation with photographer Shawn Theodore’

2015 global feature Secondary link,here.

2015 This Week In Photo: The Candid Frame Podcast, 'xST Shawn Theodore' (#293)

2015 New Republic: 'Instagram Takeover'

2015 New Republic: ‘Bearing Witness to Harlem's Gentrification’

2015 (Ebony Magazine) ‘xST Captures Vanishing Black Neighborhoods’,

2015, 'Meet the Photographer Capturing America's Vibrant Black Neighborhoods as They Disappear'

2015, 'Shawn Theodore's Photography Illustrates the Changing Landscape of Black Neighborhoods'

2015 I-D (UK) / Vice (US) 'Shawn Theodore's street shots shine a light on America’s black neighbourhoods'

2015, 'Philly street photographer XST highlighted in beautiful video series'

2015 Video documentary by Morgan Maassen

2015 @Newyorkermag 'Instagram feature'

2015 New Yorker Photo 'Instagram Takeover' @newyorkerphoto

2014, 'Fine art from an iPhone? The best Instagram photos from 2014'

2014 New York Times, 'Buying the Bricks for Your Online Storefront'

2014, 'Everyone is Flawed and Beautiful'


PDN (Photo District News), The Social Media Issue, February 2018. Cover, and the article on photographers photo editors have found through Instagram.

2017 The Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), Summer 93/3, “Joy Comes In The Morning”

2016 Smithsonian Magazine, Volume 47, Number 5, Cover

2015 New Republic, ‘Backstory: Bearing Witness to Harlem's Gentrification’


2018 Celebrating Barkley L. Hendricks at MassArt

2018 MassArt's Barkley L. Hendricks Tribute 'Legacy Of The Cool' Is Too Hot To Overlook

2018 Intersection: Photographer Shawn Theodore

2018 Black Magic, Orlando Weekly

2018 Street Views, Orlando Magazine

2017 The Review Panel Philadelphia, An Evening of Critical Debate. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA. David Cohen discusses this edition of the Review Panel, here on InLiquid.

2017 ArtBlog: Self-made saints – Dawoud Bey and Shawn Theodore at the AAMP

2017 Philadelphia Tribune: 'Black resilience focus of AAMP photo exhibits'