by Nadja Sayej
Jonathan Mannion is one of New York’s essential hip hop photographers. Since he started shooting in the 1990s—after working alongside Richard Avedon—he made his mark with Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt cover. Since then, he has shot Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Eminem, Lauryn Hill, A$AP Rocky, Aaliyah, and dozens more. You could leaf through images of this photographer’s work and feel as though you’re going through a kind of hip-hop museum. More recently his Instagram shows he has been hanging out with Kendrick Lamar, the Swagg Man, and Swizz Beatz.
What sets Mannion apart is his vision: he gets rap artists to do things you wouldn’t normally see them do. Whether it’s putting DMX in a bathtub of blood or dressing up Old Dirty Bastard as Rick James, even Lil Wayne as an astronaut, he is a classic portrait photographer who brings a touch of the absurd.
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