Ricky Powell

Ricky Powell (Brooklyn, NYC, 1961 – 2021) was an American photographer who documented popular culture, including hip hop, punk rock, graffiti and pop art. After graduating from college, Powell sold soda on the streets of New York and began photographing as a hobby, capturing his friends and family. It was during this time that he took portraits of famous artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

He is known as “the fourth Beastie Boy” because in 1986 he accompanied the famous music band on their Run-DMC’s Raising Hell tour as a photographer, acquiring notable importance. After that, he accompanied the band on many tours until 1995, getting mentioned by the band multiple times, even in some of their songs.

Powell’s works have been featured in both national and international solo and group exhibitions from the United States to Europe. Several articles have also been published in The New York Times, the New York Post, the Daily News, The Village Voice, TIME, Newsweek, VIBE, The Source, Rolling Stone, among others, as well as catalogs and retrospectives on the artist’s photographs. Some of his most famous books are:

  • The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell! (1998)
  • Frozade Moments: Classic Street Photography of Ricky Powell (2004)
  • Public Access: Ricky Powell Photographs 1985–2005 (2005)

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