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Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey, Behind the Scenes

2/17/2011 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Men, all old school is here, LL Cool J, Ice T, Mc Hammer, Salt and Pepa.... wow. I grew up listening my hip hop collection of LP and CD´s.

Photographer Jonathan Mannion, a native of Cleveland, OH, began capturing images of up-and-coming urban music superstars after working for a year with world-renowned photographer Richard Avedon. In 1996, Mannion began his professional career by shooting the photographs for the classic hip-hop album "Reasonable Doubt" by Jay-Z. In the years since then, Jonathan's photography has grown alongside the culture he so loves, helping to visually define an era of urban music. As DJ Quik once pointed out to him, the world sees hip-hop through his eyes. Mannion views the opportunity to contribute to the genre as a blessing.

"I'm just a messenger, and I¹ve been given a talent to document an extremely important era of music history. I have a love for hip-hop that goes back to when I was a teenager, and I feel blessed to have had the chance to shoot the artists I've worked with. I've had the opportunity to grow with them and the photos I've shot over the years have become visual bullet points of their creative evolution and mine."

Mannion's images attempt to push the boundaries of his art, by constantly re-examining and redefining the celebrity portrait. The influence of his work extends beyond the world of urban music. The broad range of subjects revealed by his lens include NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and 7 time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong.

"My work is very intimate. I want people to feel like they're being let in to these superstars' lives through my pictures."

Soulful, pensive, often confrontational, and always beautiful, Jonathan's portraits attempt to blend the heroic with the intensely personal. Jonathan Mannion has already made a lasting mark on the collective American psyche, with no sign of slowing down. His celebrity portraits are often the first images that come to mind when thinking of the top talent in the music industry and the stars of the sports world. Jonathan Mannion's vision has indeed become our vision, and his creations have become an essential medium for the message of an entire generation.

by Jonathan Mannion   |  website