Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop

July 12, 2019


Celebrating the photographers who have played a critical role in bringing hip-hop’s visual culture to the global stage, the exhibition “Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop”, currently on view at the Annenberg Photo Space in Los Angeles, is an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers, as told through their most intimate diaries: their unedited contact sheets.

©Barron Claiborne "Biggie Smalls, King of New York", 1997

Curated by Vikki Tobak—produced in partnership with United Photo Industries—and based on her book of the same name, the photographic exhibition includes over 120 works from more than 60 photographers.

Taking the audience into the original and unedited contact sheets—from Barron Claiborne’s iconic Notorious B.I.G. portraits, 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—“Contact High” allows visitors to look directly through the photographer’s lens and observe all of the pictures taken during these legendary photo shoots.

©Estevan Oriol "50 Cent at Mr. Cartoon's Tattoo Shop" Los Angeles, 2004

The exhibition also includes rare videos, memorabilia, and music to demonstrate how the documentation of a cultural phenomenon impacts not just music, but politics and social movements around the world.

©Janette Beckman "André 3000" New York City, 2009- Courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop

April 26-August 18, 2019
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067


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