Legendary Hip-Hop Photographer Chi Modu Has Passed Away

The acclaimed photographer was responsible for some of Hip-Hop’s most recognisable images.

Chi Modu, celebrated photographer best known for his work in Hip-Hop has passed away age 54.

The exact cause is not known. His Instagram account announced the news on Saturday saying “Our hearts are broken… We continue the fight.”

The photographer earned his B.S. degree in economics from The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers 1989. In 1992, later receiving a certificate in photojournalism and documentary photography from the International Center of Photography in New York.

He later took his first job with New York Amsterdam News in Harlem before being hired for the iconic The Source Magazine in 1991.

From then on he became known and responsible for some of Hip-Hop’s most iconic photographs that included portraits and magazine and album cover photos for Biggie, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J.

He explained his work in a 2016 Medium post saying: “A photographer’s goal is to make what can be an uncomfortable situation comfortable, so you can create images that are honest. I’ve always tried to do that by first establishing a personal connection. Only then, after we connect at a human level, will my camera be welcome to document the relationship. Once my subjects feel safe in front of my camera, then they allow me to capture and share a part of them that few get to see”

But it wasn’t just Hip-Hop he was known for, having extensively travelled the world working for the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine and The London Times.

Tributes have been made to the legendary photographer including founding editor of The Source Magazine Johnathan Stetcher who said:

“My heart goes out to Chi’s family, esp his children. If there’s anything we can do to help, let us know. Love you Chi Modu.”


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