What I'm Reading: Film, Love, & Hip-Hop

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:

Biggie Smalls, King of New York, 1997. Barron Claiborne

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.

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay