Celebrating the photographers who have played a critical role in bringing hip-hop’s visual culture to the global stage, CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop is an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers, as told through their most intimate diaries: their unedited contact sheets. Curated by Vikki Tobak—produced in partnership with United Photo Industries—and based on her book of the same name, the photographic exhibition includes over 120 works from more than 60 photographers. Taking the audience into the original and unedited contact sheets—from Barron Claiborne’s iconic Notorious B.I.G. portraits, to early images of Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West as they first took to the scene, to Janette Beckman’s defining photos of Salt-N-Pepa, to Jamel Shabazz and Gordon Parks documenting hip-hop culture—CONTACT HIGH allows visitors to look directly through the photographer’s lens and observe all of the pictures taken during these legendary photo shoots. The exhibit also includes rare videos, memorabilia, and music to demonstrate how the documentation of a cultural phenomenon impacts not just music, but politics and social movements around the world. CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop is on view through August 18 at Annenberg Space For Photography 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles. photographs courtesy of the gallery
Scottish Photographer, Ivar Wigan, presents a series of images taken around the street culture associated with the urban music scene of the American South. Captured on the urban fringes of multiple cities—predominately from Miami, Atlanta and New Orleans—the images are a defiant celebration of a marginalized and often demonized culture, here raised to iconographic status and suffused with a sense of admiration and empathy. The Gods will be on view until June 19, 2016 at Little Big Man Gallery, 1427 E. 4th Street
AL: Do you remember the moment you fell in love with hip-hop?
Lily Mercer : Yeah. There were two songs. One was “Wishing on a Star” by Jay-Z. Weirdly, that’s the Jay-Z [track] that no one thinks of. My mum had grown up playing Motown, so there was a soul connection. It was hearing a song that was accessible but also quite deep. To me, those songs were quite profound at eight years old. After, when [rap] became an obsession, was when Eminem came out. That was a gateway drug. He’s a white rapper with middle class parents. I was a middle class kid, so it was the kind of hip-hop that was acceptable.
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