Join photographer Joe Conzo, Jr. as he presents his iconic body of work, documenting the birth of hip hop in the Bronx, and the rerelease of his book Born in the Bronx: A Visual History of the Birth of Hip Hop.
Hip hop first became a part of the mainstream music industry in the early 1980s, when major record labels released albums from such accessible groups as Run DMC and the Sugarhill Gang. But the true origins of one of the most powerful pop-cultural influences in the world are in the spontaneous, progressive musical culture that grew out of tough Bronx neighborhoods of the 1970s and led to a renaissance of poetry, music, and fashion.
Through years of research, writer and curator Johan Kugelberg has pulled together the scattered remains of a movement that never had its eye on posterity.
The book includes the improvisational artwork of previously unpublished street flyers of the era, Polaroids buried for decades in basements across the Bronx, and testimonials from influential figures such as Tony Tone, LA Sunshine, and Charlie Chase.
Through the work of pioneering hip-hop photographer Joe Conzo–the man The New York Times calls “the chronicler who took hip hop’s baby pictures”–Born in the Bronx presents a unique introduction to an explosive and experimental period in music history.
Conzo co-authored Born In The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop in 2007, which has long been out of print. This new expanded edition is published by 1XRUN. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.
Please note this will be a socially distanced in-person event. The event will be held in the BDC’s Community Garden, which is located adjacent to the BDC Annex building at 364 E. 151st Street, Bronx, NY 10455.
To RSVP, please visit here.
“Born in the Bronx takes it back to 1977, when NYC shutterbug Joe Conzo began snapping urgent, candid pictures of local shows, where a revolutionary new sound could be heard.” — Entertainment Weekly.
About Joe Conzo, Jr.
The New York Times heralded Joe Conzo, Jr. as “The Man Who Took Hip-Hop’s Baby Pictures.”
The long and perilous journey of his photographic images had finally captured the gaze of mainstream America.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Conzo acquired a passion for photography as a young boy attending the Agnes Russell School on the campus of Columbia University. He continued his formal artistic education at the School of Visual Arts (NYC). He also received certification as a Combat Medic.
Later, he would join the New York Fire Department as an Emergency Medical Technician. It was his role as an EMT that delivered him to the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001.
All the while, he continued his photography and published a seminal book on hip hop culture that has received worldwide acclaim —“Born In The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop” (2007). In 2008, this entire collection of images became part of a permanent archive housed at Cornell University. The digitization of over 10,000 of Mr. Conzo’s film images has already begun—progress can be viewed at the Cornell University Library’s website. This collection is regarded by genre experts and academia as an important lens into the roots of Hip Hop culture, the Urban NYC landscape of the 70’s and 80’s, and an integral source for any serious discourse on the movement.
Image: © David “Dee” Delgado
Bronx Documentary Center
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