April 17 2017, 8pm

AU Photo Collective and WVAU present a talk with photo curator Vikki Tobak. Vikki is the creator of the Contact High Project which spotlights the photographers who have played critical roles in bringing hip hop and music culture imagery onto the global stage.

Contact High spotlights the legendary photographers who have played critical roles in bringing hip-hop culture imagery onto the global stage. Photographers share their era-defining stories and iconic images — what legendary street photographer Henri Cartier Bresson called ‘The Decisive Moment’. A rare glimpse into the creative process and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the imagery that shaped hip-hop and music visual culture. Getting access to the original and unedited contact sheets, we see the ‘big picture’ visual legacy being created. Contact sheets let you look directly through the photographer’s lens and observe all of the other shots taken during these legendary moments.

Hip-Hop has always been about self-definition especially when it comes to visuals and style. For artists, that one iconic pose or press shot or album cover would play a major role in shaping them into icons by any means necessary — skills, style, swagger, bravado and visuals. Today, the way we digest and create cultural imagery has radically changed. Today’s visual landscape is haphazardly shaped from every direction. The contact sheets reveal how photographers’ shaped the evolution of a visual cultural phenomenon.


Bender Library
Graduate Research Center, Classroom B60
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW DC