Annenberg Space’s New Hip-Hop Photo Exhibit Gives A “Contact High”

In April of 2019 Annenberg Space for Photography’s spring exhibit will celebrate the photographers who have played critical roles in bringing hip-hop’s visual culture to the global stage.

The show is based on the soon-to-be released book by Vikki Tobak, “CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop,” an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers, as told through their most intimate diaries: their unedited contact sheets.

Featuring rare outtakes from over 100 photoshoots alongside interviews and essays from industry legends, “CONTACT HIGH” takes readers on a chronological journey from old-school to alternative hip-hop and from analog to digital photography.

The ultimate companion for music and photography enthusiasts, “CONTACT HIGH is the definitive history of hip-hop’s early days, celebrating the artists that shaped the iconic album covers, t-shirts and posters beloved by hip-hop fans today.

Curated by Tobak and produced in partnership with United Photo Industries (UPI), the photographic exhibition will display 120 works from 60 photographers.

Looking at the evolution of hip-hop photography https://t.co/UIC0AwgE22 pic.twitter.com/Z850vgep3h

— NYT Photo (@nytimesphoto) October 6, 2018

Taking the audience into the original and unedited contact sheets, from Barron Claiborne’s iconic Biggie Smalls shots 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.

This exhibit will allow visitors to look directly through the photographer’s lens and observe all of the pictures taken during these legendary moments.

Rare videos, memorabilia, and music will celebrate how the documentation of a cultural phenomenon impacts not just music, but politics and social movements around the world.