About Us

Hip Hop Photography graphic on home page by BIO from The TatsCru.

Janette Beckman

A selection of Janette Beckman's hip hop images.
Images © Janette Beckman

British-born photographer Janette Beckman began her career in the punk rock era working for music magazines The Face and Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to Boy George as well as three Police album covers. 

In 1983 she moved to New York to document the underground hip-hop scene, photographing pioneers Run DMC, Slick Rick, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and many more. 

Her work has been shown in galleries worldwide and is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the City of New York, and the British National Portrait Gallery. 

She has published five books, including Rap Portraits & Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers (1991). The Breaks Stylin’ & Profilin (2008) and The MashUp (2018) a collaboration with iconic New York graffiti artists, curated by artist Cey Adams, reinterpreting her hip hop images. Her new monograph covering 40 years of photography Rebels From Punk To Dior was just published by Drago in November 2021.

Janette continues to chronicle sub-cultures as well as photographing campaigns for brands like Dior and Levis. She is represented by the Fahey Klein Gallery.

Joe Conzo

A selection of Joe Conzo's hip hop images.
Images © Joe Conzo

Born and raised in the Bronx, Joe was born into Bronx Royalty. His Grandmother, Dra. Evelina Antonetty, affectionally known as “The Hell Lady of The Bronx” is credited with starting Bilingual education in The Bronx and advocating for basic human rights for Bronx natives and people of color. His mother, the late Lorraine Montenegro is credited with starting the first Women with Children facility in the country to combat their demons with substance abuse. Joe Conzo Sr. is considered the foremost Latin Music Historian in the country and teaches at Hostos Community College. Serving 5 years in The Army as a combat medic, Joe found a career as an EMT and Union activist in The NYC Fire Dept. Retiring in 2018 after 25 years with FDNY, Joe was a staunch advocate for his members who responded to the 9/11 tragedy in helping set up the 9/11 health registry, which would lead to the WTC Zadroga Bill.

Joe acquired a passion for photography as a young boy attending the Agnes Russell School on the campus of Columbia University. He continued his formal artistic education at the School of Visual Arts (NYC). The New York Times, heralded Joe Conzo Jr. as “The Man Who Took Hip-Hop’s Baby Pictures.” The long and perilous journey of his photographic images had finally captured the gaze of mainstream America.

All the while, he continued his photography and published a seminal book on hip hop culture that has received worldwide recognition, Born in The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop (2007). In 2008, this entire collection of images became part of a permanent archive housed at Cornell University. The digitization of over 10,000 of Mr. Conzos’ film images has already begun—progress can be viewed at the Cornell University Library’s website. This collection is regarded by genre experts and academia as an important lens into the roots of Hip-Hop culture, the Urban NYC landscape of the 70’s and 80’s, and it is an integral source for any serious discourse on the movement.

Joe has traveled all over the world showcasing his photographic archives as a Bronx ambassador. In 2019, Joe published his second book, 111 Places in Da Bronx you must not miss, showcasing The Bronx’s historical contributions to The World. Retired now for 3 years from public service, Joe continues his photographic career, documenting events all over the world and fighting for the basic human rights for the people in The Bronx. Joe has been married for 22 years with 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Martha Cooper

A selection of Martha Cooper's hip hop images.
Images © Martha Cooper

Martha Cooper has specialized in documenting urban art and architecture for over forty years. In 1980, after seeing young boys breaking in the subway, she teamed up with dance historian Sally Banes. Their cover story in the Village Voice in 1981 introduced breaking to the world.

Martha’s books include Subway Art, a collaboration with Henry Chalfant, R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art, Hip Hop Files 1980-1984, We B*Girlz, Street Play, New York State of Mind, Tag Town, Going Postal, Name Tagging, Tokyo Tattoo 1970 and Remembering 9/11. Spray Nation, containing Martha’s previously unpublished New York City graffiti photos from the 1980s, will be released in the fall of 2022.

Martha lives in Manhattan but frequently shoots projects in far flung places around the globe.