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Ricky Powell is a street photographer from New York who’s well known for both his work with and influence within the Rap community. His style of shooting is usually street photography or environmental portraits.

Powell’s work began as a way to retaliate against an ex-girlfriend. In 1985 when he broke up with a cheating girlfriend, she left behind some things in their apartment.  One of those was an old camera which he picked up and vowed that “she would be mad sorry she dissed [him] like this.”

His early fame came from his work with the Beastie Boys (who even immortalized him on the record “Car Thief” and put him as the nerd from the “Fight For Your Right“ video). He worked with them for two decades as their tour and official photographer.

He continued to shoot the rap community but also extended his work to intimate portraits.  His work has been published by publications such as The New York Times, the New York Post, the TIME, Newsweek, VIBE, The Source, and Rolling Stone. His primary subject is the people an environment of New York City.

His work also included several mediums outside photography.  Powell hosted a television show for several years about Rap music.  He’s also designed clothes, shoes, and headphones that have been sold by major brands.  Powell also has done interactive art installations.

Here’s an excerpt from “Everybody Street” by ALLDAYEVERYDAY.  It’s a documentary on Ricky Powell’s work and other street photographers.  Keep in mind he’s colorful and a bit NSFW.

And one more profile

Follow Ricky Powell on Twitter.

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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

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A Photographer You Should Know, Street

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