Monday, November 29, 2010
I was walking around the LES today and decided to pop into this hat shop called Still Life on Orchard Street. While shopping, I noticed amazing photos of iconic hip hop artists displayed all throughout the store, artists ranging from Snoop Dog to Eazy E. Being a hardcore hip hop fan and well as a huge proponent of photography, I was naturally drawn to these photos. The photos were by the photographer Chi Modu.
Modu worked at the famous hip hop magazine The Source for many years. A magazine I used to read from cover to cover. My interest in Modu was heightened after I visited his website and noticed that he photographed many things that are close to my heart. My father is 7th generation Yemenese and Modu has a series on his travels to Yemen. In addition to this, I am from Singapore and hold a strong connection to Indonesia and again, Modu has a series on his travels to Indonesia. His work is beautifully shot and a viewer can easily grasp what Modu is trying to get across in his pictures. I find his hip hop photos especially endearing as we see some of the most prolific rap artists of our time in their youth. The sense of "newcomer" comes across and for me, a hip hop enthusiast, I can almost feel the "freshness" of these photos. In these early photographs of hip hop icons such as Biggie, Snoop and 2 Pac, a sense of youth comes through the lense and although these artist are considered hard and prolific, the viewer can sense a sort of softness in their character: they become real people in his photos.
Here is a wonderful video on a presentation that Modu gave on his work: http://vimeo.com/2377942
Photos from his hip hop era:
From his Yemen Series: