In 1993, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) saw the light of day. Around the same time, and hours before their first ever show in the UK, British photographer Eddie Otchere met the Wu-Tang Clan. He spent a couple of hours with them then and, fascinated, he kept coming back to take the group's photographs for almost a decade.
Icons of Wu is a one-day photo exhibition by Eddie Otchere, taking place at the Brixton East 1871 gallery, in London, March 5.
The exhibition features portraits of every Wu Tangmember. These were shot by Otchere over a nine-year period and have never before been displayed together. The prints have been “digitally reduxed” and Otchere himself will offer a guided tour of the exhibition, beginning at 2PM on the day.
In its infancy Hip Hop took host in the minds of the most minimal of the masses; the young, disenfranchised and poor urban youths. It taught them to celebrate intellect, wit, charm and, importantly, their humanity, all of which they had no consciousness of. In Hip Hop, the youth explored four components of human activity and used them to define themselves.
Eddie Otchere photographed 8 of the 9 Wu Tang members in London (1995); he eventually caught the final Pokémon, shooting RZA a few years later. With too many achievements to list – including photographing for Metalheadz, Rawkus, and capturing iconic shots of both Aaliyah and Biggie – it’s safe to say he had a few stories to share.
Eddie Otchere has been documenting hip-hop, R&B and electronic music for more than two decades with subjects including Biggie Smalls, Aaliyah, Nas, Jay Z, Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
His latest exhibition at Brixton East 1871 in association with 87s & Co presents his iconic pictures of every member of the Wu-Tang Clan during 5 years spent hanging out with the band that have never before been seen in their entirety.
One day my great grandchildren will go up into the loft and find a batch of prints that've been sitting there for 50 years. Upon closer inspection they may recognise what they see. They could also find hard drives except of course in 50 years they won't have the hundred divergent cables and plugs Apple introduces every 3 months. All you need is light to unlock the potential of film. Lastly, a photograph, a print is a gift, the space in which that gift is created is the darkroom, a powerful space where the gifts are not mass produced but crafted into being.