B&W + Color
"The Black Panthers in Focus: Oakland 1968"
By Stuart I. Frolick
Issue 85, September 2011

"The photographs Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones took
amidst such tumultuous events show the sensitive humanity
that animated the young revolutionaries in the Black Panther Party.
Although we typically were portrayed in the mass media as
thugs, menacing criminals, or subversives, their work radically
contrasted the propaganda at the time."
— Kathleen Cleaver, 2002

Pirkle Jones died on March 15, 2009, he was 95 years old.

“Pirkle’s visual legacy is one that can be characterized
as masterful, meaningful, and ethical. His talent was singular, prodigious, and honorable. His eyes beheld an abundance of
beauty, wisdom, curiosity, and commitment. His heart was
open, enfolding, and comforting. A gift.“
— Tim B. Wride

The New York Times
"Pirkle Jones, Documentary Photographer, Dies at 95"
By William Grimes
March 23, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle
"Pirkle Jones dies - noted Bay Area photographer"
By Jessse Hamlin
March 21, 2009

Los Angeles Times
"Pirkle Jones, California photographer, dies at 95"
By Elaine Woo
March 24, 2009

Inside Bay Area.com
"Black Panthers' photographer Pirkle Jones dies at 95"
By Paul Liberatore
March 20, 2009

Jane Reed's biographic documentary "Pirkle Jones: Seven Decades Remembered" does a sensitive yet stellar job of chronicling the career of one of America's most admired and socially committed photographers of the 20th into the 21st Century.

— Ed Guerrero, Cinema Studies, NYU

Pirkle Jones is an artist in the best sense of the term. His statement is sound and resonant of the external world as well as of the internal responses and evaluations of his personality. His photography is not flamboyant, does not depend upon the superficial excitements. His pictures will live with you, and with the world, as long as there are people to observe and appreciate.

— Ansel Adams


This film is an outstanding portrait of a photographer’s life and work that captures both the artistic strength of the photography as well as the complexity of the social context in which the photographs were taken. Pirkle photographed the “Death of a Valley” with Dorothea Lang and did a series of the Sacramento Delta. He photographed the Black Panthers, and he made pictures of the Gate Five houseboat community. These don’t seem at first glance to have been done by one person. Pirkle’s is not a singular point of view, so it’s harder to brand or publicize this work. He had a continuing interest in people who work the land, in the landscape and the communities that they establish, and in the vulnerabilities of those communities. These are big issues dealing with society and dealing with who we are as a culture, as a country, and what we stand for.

— Dr. Sandra S. Phillips, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


With uncanny prescience, a sense of urgency, and a sympathetic eye, Jones often plays the dual roles of artist and witness, combining portraiture, landscapes, and architectural photographs to create thorough documents of social structure and upheaval.

— Aperture, "Pirkle Jones California Photographs"


To trace the evolution of Pirkle's photographs and the sensibility that shaped them is to encounter a visual strength and pictorial conviction born of rigorous self-evaluation. His keen sense of reflection has always allowed him to learn from his experiences and the facility to be open to collaboration. If one were to dissect the influence of Pirkle's collaborators and subject, it might be said that Ansel Adams was the key to the visual; Dorothea Lange to the political; Ruth-Marion Baruch to the intellectual; the inhabitants of Gate 5 to the interpersonal; and nature to the spiritual.

— Tim B. Wride, former curator
at Los Angeles County Museum of Art


PIrkle Jones"s photographs are just like John Steinbeck's writing: they both capture the struggles of California's coming of age and wear its emblem of freedom. With a name like "Pirkle" and his eye for truth, his photographs are irresistible as any orchid he ever grew.

— Bruce Weber


I was the communications secretary of the Black Panther Party and so I was the person that Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch got in touch with when they wanted to do photographs of the Black Panthers. I brought them to Eldridge and he said, "Oh. Your pictures are different. Your pictures don't look like the other pictures we see in the press." They were actually very caring and very humane, and that came through in their photographs.

— Kathleen Cleaver



Black Panthers from Sacramento, Free Huey Rally, Bobby Hutton Memorial Park, Oakland, August 25, 1968; Black Panthers at Free Huey Rally, Bobby Hutton
Memorial Park, Oakland, September 22, 1968; Distribution of Black Panther newspaper, Black Panther National Headquarters, Berkeley, September 26, 1968;
At Free Huey Rally, Bobby Hutton Memorial Park, Oakland, CA, #105, 1968; Free Huey Rally, De Fremery Park, Oakland, CA, #38; Los Angeles Black
Panthers guarding speaker's platform; Bobby Seale speaking at Free Huey Rally, De Fremery Park, Oakland, July 14, 1968


©2011-12 JLRFilm