In May 2017, at the end of a week-long commission for the Brighton festival, Eddie Otchere picked up his camera and ventured out into the countryside. As hikes go, it was fairly unremarkable: he wandered into the South Downs and then wandered back again. But for a committed Londoner like Otchere, whose 25-year career as a photographer has been intimately tied to urban subjects – he documented the rise of drum’n’bass in the mid-90s and is best known for his revealing portraits of rappers such as Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan – this walk marked the beginning of something new and unexpected and even, he admits, a little bit terrifying.
Eddie’s prolific work photographing 1990s hip-hop legends hadn’t been exhibited on this scale before so we invited him to unearth his collection to a new audience. While creating the exhibition, he discovered negatives that had never been seen before.
Once dubbed the 10th Wu-Tang member, Eddie Otchere has become critically-acclaimed for his incredible photography, including a curator role at the National Portrait Gallery and shooting artists such as Jay Z, Nas, Snoop Dog and Aaliyah. And, his work has been celebrated in its unique quality to encapsulate subcultures and ephemeral moments in music history.
Off Safety is set to bring its touring photography show to Kinfolk 94 in Brooklyn, NY. The show will put on a grand display of vintage hip-hop images captured by renowned photographers, Eddie Otchere and Paul Chan.
Otchere’s portfolio is comprised of intimate portraits spotlighting Aaliyah, Notorious BIG, Outkast, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, and more. On the other hand, Chan has accrued throwback snaps of Lil Wayne, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes to name a few. Collectively, the show aims to immerse viewers in the ’90s and ’00s scene with its distinct fashion styles and trends.
Eddie Otchere is best known for the plethora of photographs he’s taken of artists from hip hop’s golden age, circa the late-Eighties/early-Nineties. He’s shot everyone from icons such as Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls, to the late Aaliyah to a startling series of images of Wu Tang Clan. Born and raised in London, he was also very much involved in documenting the birth of British bass culture on the drum & bass scene, most especially the seminal Metalheadz night at the Blue Note. More recently, Otchere spent time as an Assistant Curator at the National Portrait Gallery and in 2007 was partly responsible for the acclaimed exhibition, Devotional, featuring British black female singers.
Acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere will set up a community darkroom – an open-access space in which the people of Brighton can capture, reflect on and share their experiences, celebrating what it is to be part of a community.
One could argue that Eddie Otchere was at the right place at the right moment… That might partially be true but if you ask me, it takes more than a lucky twist of fate to build an entire career. Fate can play in your favour but it’s mostly when shit happens that you learn to push through and fight for what you want. After he graduated from London College of Printing, Eddie never put down his camera, literally, because when people starting swopping analog with digital Eddie kept on defending the traditional silverhalide process. It’s in the darkness of his black room that he developed the portraits of the biggest names in hip hop over the past 20 years. From Biggie to Run DMC, from Snoop Dogg to Aaliyah, Eddie was able to immortalise legends in an era where the music industry was still genuine and artists authentic.
For one day only, a photography exhibition of the New York hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan will take place in Brixton East gallery, south London.
Otchere: The Icons of Wu-Tang will include a collection of previously unexhibited photographs of the Staten Island hip hop group, taken by British photographer Eddie Otchere during the Wu-Tang’s heyday in the mid-1990s.
In Icons of Wu, Eddie Otchere presents portraits of every member of the Wu during their most prolific years; photographed over five years and never before exhibited in their entirety. However this is more than just your standard photography exhibition. Taking place at Brixton East 1871, the affair will feature a sonic video installation by Daniel Oduntan, a production workshop, a discussion panel and of course music to close the evening. Also, as promised by Otchere, “the digital files created for the prints will be destroyed on the 9th March – the day Biggie died – never to be reproduced again, making the Icons of Wu edition finite.”
One man who has proven consistently capable of snapping those slice-of-time shots has been photographer, Eddie Otchere; known for his portraits of hip-hop and r&b stars in their heyday. A one-day exhibit at London’s Brixton East 1871 gallery will find Otchere himself guiding visitors through his time with The Wu with a full spread of his stills, which will apparently be vanquished in a very Madlib-via-Kafka-esque fashion to prevent the stills from being reproduced. The Icons Of Wu-Tang exhibit will take place on March 9th for one day only. We suggest you book your flight today. You won’t want to miss this one. Peep an introduction to the exhibit in the clip below.