Photographer Ricky Powell Talks With 1xRUN About Hanging Out With Eazy-E
Ricky Powell is a New York City based photographer who is not only legendary for rising to fame because of his relationship with the Beastie Boys, he is also well-known for his intimate photographs that have been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, The Daily News, The Village Voice, TIME, Newsweek, VIBE, The Source, Rolling Stone, and more. He has worked with Hip-Hop acts such as Run DMC, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and also known for his iconic photo of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight between you me and the lamp post?
Ricky Powell: I was going to interview Eazy-E at the Hilton Hotel on 51st and 6th for Seconds magazine. We were going to talk about a single he was putting out in 1993. He answered the door with a huge blunt and said “For you Ricky Powell!” I was like wow, this is going to be a fun interview. Basically I just went up to interview him and I brought my Minolta auto-jammy camera, my Pentax 1000 with this fish-eye lens and my camcorder video camera, just in case I could get an interview or film him for “Rappin’ with The Rickster” the public access show I was doing at the time. He was very relaxed and let me photograph him while he was rolling more blunts and what not.
1xRun: When and where was this photo taken?
Ricky Powell: It was shot on the couch in his hotel room at the Hilton Hotel on 51st st and 6th ave at about 7pm. It was sometime in 1993…I don’t remember what time of the year it was, but it was when he was putting out his single dissing Dr. Dre. (Real Mutha’Fuckin G’s)
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about the camera and the development that you used for this photo?
Ricky Powell: For this I used Ektachrome slide film with 24 exposures and I shot it at 200 speed in my Pentax 1000 camera with the fish-eye lens attached. That Pentax K1000, I actually bought it off a crack head in Tompkins Square Park in 1988 for 50 bucks. I put it to use right away. Any photos that you see of mine with the fish-eye look were shot with that camera. I figure, I made about $10,000 in a year from that camera, not bad for a 50 dollar investment. More importantly, it gave me an additional manual focus instrument besides my Minolta hi-matic auto-jammy. I’m still using that today, especially to shoot look books. Film has a place in photography…trust me.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Ricky Powell: Well, if your a hip-hop fan, Eazy-E is a unique legend with a unique voice and style. This photo shows stuff that he was into…and weed. Since he was from the West Coast and I’m from the East Coast it was an interesting blend, especially because of my history/lineage of photographing rap stars from the East Coast.
1xRun: Describe this print in one gut reaction word.
Ricky Powell: Gangsta.
Powell’s print of Eazy-E is currently available right here on 1xRun, limited quantities available so get one now.
Visit Ricky Powell’s site www.rickypowell.com