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As long as hip-hop culture has existed, photographers have documented it. An exhibition presented by Che Kothari and Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, “40 Years of Hip Hop Photography,” celebrates the artists who have shaped the music since its birth in 1974 as well as the pioneering photographers who helped introduce those artists to the world. “Part of the reason we did the show was to show appreciation not only for hip-hop and the impact it has in our lives and the community around us, but to give props to those who document it, those who are behind the lens but whose work is so important,” said Ryan Paterson, who co-curated the exhibit.
The exhibition’s photographs chart the progression of hip-hop from an underground, geographically specific phenomenon to a worldwide cultural movement that has created fortunes. That evolution might be seen through the style of the photographs themselves, which include a mix of raw documentary shots and highly polished studio images used for promotion.
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