Contact sheets are cool. They're an entire roll (or rolls) of film all in a single mosaic. They can represent minutes, hours, even years worth of work.
In 2018 Popular Photography released an article celebrating the visual history of hip hop through---you guessed it, contact sheets. Over the course of 40 years, miles of film was spent in the pursuit of capturing a perfect, timeless image, which embodied all things hip-hop. Like any industry however, the culture, players, and music were constantly in flux. While the capturing of this "perfect" image is debatable, this journey resulted in several quintessential hip-hop captures like this one:
It's an image of a man at the top of his game. Serious. Focused. But one image doesn't tell the whole story. Looking at the contact sheets we see an experimenting photographer and a seemingly jovial Biggie Smalls who new how to play for the camera.
Nas, Snoop, Public Enemy, Tupac Redman---it's the same story but different images. Even newer hip-hop icons have made their precense on film: Tyler the Creator, A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj. The iconic captures we've become familiar with over the years are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to understanding the bigger picture---pun intended.
Want to read more? Check out the full article here.