Some of hip-hop’s most iconic photos are on display at ICP’s photo exhibition entitled CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, lasting through May 18, 2020. The exhibition explores four-decades of photography from the early 1970s to today documenting a revolution not just in music, but in politics, race relations, fashion, and culture.
With the music establishing itself as a cultural force, the documenters of the urban spaces where hip-hop came to life were the photographers, providing a necessary perspective—sometimes empowering, sometimes controversial. Photography only helped shape the icons of the music genre in which self-definition is the biggest part, from press photos to album covers it granted the performer a distinctive visual quality and has become inseparable from the music.
Contact High pays tribute to the way a new genre reinvented popular music—back when nobody knew where hip-hop could go or how long it might last, back before hip-hop exploded worldwide.