Jeffrey Henson Scales - Claire Oliver Gallery

Jeffrey Henson Scales

Jeffrey Henson Scales is a photographer who began making photographs at age 11 after his parents, his mother a painter and his father an amateur photographer gave him 30 years of Life Magazines and a Leica camera and has since spent more than five decades as a documentary and commercial photographer. His documentary photographs have been exhibited at museums throughout the United States and Europe and have appeared in numerous photography magazines, books, and anthologies. His photographs are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The City Museum of New York, The George Eastman House, and The Baltimore Museum of Art.

A one-person exhibition, “Pictures from America” sponsored by The Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, traveled throughout the United States from 1996 to 2001.

Mr. Henson Scales is also an editor who curates The New York Times, photography column, “Exposures,” and is co-editor of the annual Year in Pictures special section. He is also an adjunct professor at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, Photography & Imaging department teaching photojournalism there since 2006.

His most recent book, “House”, documents life in a legendary Harlem barbershop over the course of six years and his current project is “The Archive Project” in which he is digitizing and cataloging over fifty years of his personal and professional photographs which include images and narratives from the exhibition, “The Lost Negatives.”

April 7, 2022 to April 10, 2022

Navy Pier, Chicago IL

View exhibit press release (pdf)

Claire Oliver Gallery is thrilled to announce our return to Chicago for a long-overdue in-person celebration of art. At this inception of EXPO CHICAGO, the Gallery will bring major new works by artists Gio Swaby, Robert Peterson, Adebunmi Gbadebo, and Stan Squirewell. These artists whose practices vary but share a commonality in their desire to reframe the often-politicized Black body.

In addition to these powerful voices the Gallery will present a special exhibition, "The Lost Negatives," the works of photographer Jeffery Henson Scales. Historically significant, culturally cool, and artistically framed, the works transcend the view into the artist's unique vantage point to history. The exhibition features photographs from the 1960s including Henson Scales’ earliest forays as a photographer during the electrifying summer of 1967 when, at age 13, he toured the Midwest to see relatives in Chicago. As a Black teenager, he saw the poverty and oppression of Northern Black communities and when he returned to Oakland, CA became immersed in photographing the milieu of the Black Panther movement in Northern California. These images chart the emergence of his awakening as a documentary photographer as well as a Black man in a pivotal moment in the 20th century that echoes today’s Black Lives Matter movement.

September 16, 2021 to November 6, 2021

Claire Oliver Gallery

View exhibit press release (pdf)

"As a young activist, I learned how important it is to have a concrete mission to help improve the community you’re speaking for. It’s not just about slogans and protests. It’s also about improving communities and serving underserved people in those communities, and how important that is. I’ve just sort of been recently thinking about what I learned and where it all fits 50 years later." - Jeffrey Henson Scales

February 20, 2021 to April 3, 2021

Claire Oliver Gallery

View exhibit press release (pdf)

“As longtime residents of Harlem, we are inspired by the rich cultural lineage of our neighborhood,” states gallerist Claire Oliver. “In the midst of this challenging year when we have all been so isolated, we wanted to showcase the resiliency and celebrate the individuals, geography, and culture of Harlem through the intimacy of photography while also supporting a vital organization that provides urgently needed aid to our community in this time of need.”

A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will go towards supporting the more than 1,200 meals being served daily at the Salem United Methodist Church on 129th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd. “This is one of the biggest opportunities to feed people who are hungry,” said Winston Majette, Harlem Week Executive Director.

Selected Museum Collections

Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Baltimore Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Museum of The City of New York
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

2017- +81 Gallery, New York, “THEN AND NOW; Photographs by Jeffrey Henson Scales”
2013- Prichard Art Gallery, University of Idaho, “THAT YEAR OF LIVING”
2011- Light Work/ Robert B. Menschel Gallery, Syracuse, NY “THAT YEAR OF LIVING”
2000-Homer Contemporary Design Gallery NYC
1998- Baltimore Museum of Art, “PICTURES FROM AMERICA,” traveling exhibition, 70 photographs
1998- Manchester Craftsmen Guild, Pittsburgh, PA, New Color Work.
1998- Harrisburg Community College, Harrisburg Pennsylvania “PICTURES FROM AMERICA,”
1997- Ramapo College, New Jersey,” PICTURES FROM AMERICA,”
1996- Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester NY, “PICTURES FROM AMERICA,”
1996- The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville CT. “PICTURES FROM AMERICA,”
1994- Drew University Photographic Gallery, Madison NJ1990- Midland Arts Center, Birmingham England
1987- The College Gallery of Photography, Amherst, Mass. From the series, “Harlem”
1970- University Of California, Berkeley, “Oakland Black Panthers”

The one-person exhibition, “Pictures From America by Jeffrey Henson Scales,” sponsored by The Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, contained over seventy images and traveled throughout the United States from 1996 to 2001.

Selected Group Shows

2020 — Museum of The City of New York, Collecting New York Stories
2019 – Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography
2016 – Photographer’s Gallery, London, Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity
2015-2021.    Posing Beauty in African American Culture
2021: Flint Institute of Arts, Flint MI
2019: Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware
2019: University of Maryland, David C. Driskell Center, Baltimore, MD
2017: Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile AL
2017: SNAP! Space, Orlando, FL
2017: The Mona Bismarck American Center, Paris, France
2016: Northwest African American Museum, Seattle, Washington
2014: Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
2014: Evansville Museum, Evansville, Indiana
2013: Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia
2013: The College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster Ohio
2012: The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art, Scranton, PA
2011: University of Southern California, Fischer Museum
2011: The Newark Museum, New Jersey
2010: William College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA
2010: Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
2009: Gulf + Western Gallery at Tisch, NYU, New York
2013- South Street Seaport Museum, Street Shots, NY
2009- Gulf + Western Gallery at Tisch, NYU Faculty Show
2003- McMullen Museum of Art on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College, Reflections in Black
2003- Oakland Museum of Art, Reflections in Black; African American photography 1840 to the present
2002- Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Station, New York, A Day In The Life OF Africa
2002-Museum of Modern Art, NYC Life of The City
2001- Studio Museum in Harlem, Reflections in Black; African American photography 1840 to the present
2001-The Jetty Center, Los Angeles, CA; Walker Evans and Company
2000- Brooklyn Museum of Art; Committed to The Image; Contemporary African American Photography
2000- Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Walker Evans and Company
2000- Smithsonian Museum of American History, Reflections in Black; African American photography 1840 to the present
1999- Smithsonian Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, Locating the Spirit: Spirituality in African American Art
1998- Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Photography From The Collection,
1998- Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester NY, Rejuvenation New colorwork
1998- Weasel + O’Connor Gallery NYC, ‘MALE’ Curated by Vince Aletti,
1997- Museum of The City of New York, NYC: The Streets and Beyond: The New York Photographs
1996- Arbetets Museum, Laxholmen, SWEDEN, A Century Apart: Images of Struggle and Spirit, w/ Jacob Riis
1996- Den Antikvariske Samling, Ribe, DENMARK, A Century Apart: Images of Struggle and Spirit, w/ Jacob Riis
1996- Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art, Ft. LAUDERDALE, Burning Issues, Contemporary African American Art
1996- National Museum of Denmark, COPENHAGEN, A Century Apart: Images of Struggle and Spirit, w/ Jacob Riis
1995- Richard F. Brush Art Gallery St. Lawrence University, The Skin Landscape exhibition on Tattoo Art.
1995- Museum of the City of New York, A Century Apart: Images of Struggle and Spirit, Jacob Riis and 5 Contemporary Photographers.
1993- Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Photography From The Collection, from the Harlem series
1992- Museum of Modern Art, NYC, More Than One Photography, from the Harlem series
1991- Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Mean Streets, from the Harlem series.
1991- University of California at Irvine Fine Arts Gallery, Convergence 8, From the Young Men  series
1991- Photographic Resource Center, Boston   Convergence 8, From the Young Men series
1991- Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY   Convergence 8, From the Young Men series.  Traveling show
1991- Deer Meervarrt Arts Center, Amsterdam, The Home Show-New York Time, from the Harlem series
1990- University of California Berkeley Art Museum, Constructed Images, from the House’s Barber Shop
1990- High Art Museum, Atlanta Constructed Images, from the House’s Barber Shop series.
1990- Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC The Home Show, From the Harlem series
1990- Houston Foto Fest Constructed Images, from the House’s Barber Shop series.
1989- Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC, Constructed Images, from the House’s Barber Shop series. Traveling Exhibition through 1993
1988- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC Who’s Uptown from the Harlem series
1988- The Eye Gallery, San Francisco, Ca. from the Harlem Series
1988- C. E. P. A.  Buffalo, NY, The Photographers Mind, from Harlem series
1986- The Midtown Y Gallery, NYC, from the Harlem series
1984- Los Angeles Photographers Association Gallery, Central American Refugee portraits
1982- Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions Gallery,  (L.A.C.E.),  In This House That I Call Home
1979- Camerawork, San Francisco, Portraits

Photography Awards:

1996- New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Photography
1995- National Endowment for the Arts, Exhibition Support Grant W/ Visual Studies Workshop
1991- Dorothea Lange/ Paul Taylor Award for Collaborative Project, Honorable Mention (with Meg Henson)
1991- W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, Second Place
1991- Mid-Atlantic Arts, Photographers Fellowship

Download Biography

Jeffrey Henson Scales: In A Time of Panthers

Accompanying Carrie Mae Weems’ monumental exhibition, "The Shape of Things," "Land of Broken Dreams" was a large-scale, multidisciplinary convening and concert series.

Conversations On Content

Artist Jeffery Henson Scales sits down with gallerist Claire Oliver to discuss the content captured within each of his photographs


In A Time Of Panthers: The Lost Negatives

Photograph Magazine

September 8, 2021


A Batch of Lost Negatives

The New York Times

September 4, 2021


Love Letter For Harlem

Time Out New York

February 22, 2021