HomeNewsOPINION: Are Photographers Hip-Hop’s New Commodity?

OPINION: Are Photographers Hip-Hop’s New Commodity?

Image by Blaq Smith

Photographers have been at the nucleus of the industry since its inception, capturing iconic moments of our favourite artists and acts on stage like Jonathan Mannion snapping photos of Jay-Z for his Hard Knock Life album. Of course, this culture has existed in the US far longer than it has in our local industry, so it is quite interesting to see that our local acts are investing in the art of photography and recognizing the influence that this has on their rand perception.

Undisputed. 📸 by @blaq_smith

A post shared by AKA (@akaworldwide) on

"STAY SHINING" 📸: @tkmogotsi

A post shared by Rikhado "Riky Rick" Makhado (@rikyrickworld) on

We’ve seen rappers invest in this, AKA has his trusted photographer Blaq Smith whilst Riky Rick now relies on the sharp eye of TK Mogotsi to snap his combos. This trend is definitely spurred by Instagram’s popularity, the platform is now the perfect hunting place for dope young artists. Artists have realized that their presence and impact on the game is dependent on how they present themselves to their fans, promoters, and brands that are looking for new personalities to endorse their products and services.

Furthermore, photographers are responsible for portraying the mood of the artist’s music, Anatii has fully curated his Instagram Feed into a glitch VHS inspired collage of images to represent his Electronic Bushman persona.

Fashionably Late! ⚡️⚡️⚡️ @gqsouthafrica #GQBD17 #BestDressed #ElectronicBushman #Style

A post shared by ANATII (@anatii) on

The question is, are photographers a necessity for an upcoming artist? Is this what separates them from the rest of the pack in the age of the internet? There is a lot of traffic online, a new artist every day on the internet, so do they need the aid of a good photographer to create an image around them and have their music/art consumed in the right way or at least be understood? Let us know what you think of this trend and what you think this means for the future.

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