GlobalGrind caught up with photographer Mike Schreiber a few days before the opening exhibition of portraits from his “True Hip-Hop” book, at MBP Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The exhibition is part of the DUMBO art hood’s annual First Thursday Art Walk.
Schreiber is a New York City-based photographer who lives in NYC’s East Village, studied anthropology at university and has been a fixture in the hip-hop community for close to 15 years, photographing athletes and some of the genre’s most luminous stars.
Biggie, Biz Markie, Mos Def, Emenem and Fat Joe are just five of a galaxy of artists the photographer has shot for XXL, RollingStone, Vibe, Spin and others.
We spoke to Schreiber today, his birthday, via email.
GlobalGrind: Where are you from?
Mike Schreiber: New York. Born and raised on Long Island, [but] I’ve been in the East Village for many years.
Where were you educated?
I studied anthropology at UCONN.
Who was your photography mentor, if any?
When I first started, I didn’t really know much about photography or photographers but, over the years, I’ve come to admire people like Sebastiao Salgado, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, William Klein and Danny Clinch.
How and why did you chose to become a photographer?
Truthfully, when I first started out, I really just wanted to go to concerts for free. I never really planned it out or aspired to much more than having fun and trying to not have to get a “job.”
Who was your first hip-hop subject?
The first hip-hop subject must have been a concert. I think it was Coolio at some club in the late ’90s.
How many photographs are in your show?
Just a few. The gallery is a small space that the publisher, Mark Batty, recently opened in Brooklyn.
Are these images from your book or are they from your archives? Both?
Both. The images in the book are from the archives.
Please talk about the image of Biz Markie. When was it made, what was it for?
Which Biz photo? I’ve shot him twice: Once for XXL and once for URB. The picture with the cotton candy was for XXL and shot at coney island.
You’ve photographed many luminaries in hip-hop. Who was the most challenging and why?
Most challenging? Hmmm… I’ll plead the 5th on that one.
Mos Def by Mike Schreiber.
MIA by Mike Schreiber.
Nas by Mike Schreiber
Fat Joe by Mike Schreiber.