Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is inviting all Bronxites to attend the opening of the photo exhibit “The Bronx: Mi Barrio, Mi Orgullo,” by Joe Conzo Jr.
The New York Times proclaimed photographer Joe Conzo Jr. as “The Man Who Took Hip-Hop’s Baby Pictures.” Born and raised in the Bronx, Joe Conzo Jr. was part of a generation that saw the beginning of Hip Hop, and at its early stage, Joey passionately embraced the role of photographer within the phenomenon.
The event will take place on Thursday, July 15, 2010 at the Bronx Borough President’s Office, Bronx County Court House, 851 Grand Concourse, Suite 301 at 6:00 p.m.
In an article published on October 4, 2005, The New York Times heralded photographer Joe Conzo as “The Man Who Took Hip Hop’s Baby Pictures.” Born and raised in the South Bronx, Conzo acquired a flair for photography at the tender age of nine while attending the Agnes Russell School on the campus of Columbia University. Later, he fine tuned those skills at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Growing up around his grandmother, the dynamic South Bronx leader and activist Dr. Evelina López Antonetty and his father, longtime confidant and historian of the late Tito Puente, Joe Conzo, Sr., Conzo’s photographic work was deeply influenced by a strong legacy of Puerto Rican activism in the South Bronx, as well as the vibrancy of Puerto Rican musical culture in New York.
Coming of age during a turbulent period in New York City history, Conzo was part of a generation of South Bronx youth that refused to be dissuaded by the massive physical deterioration of their environs and attempts to stifle their creative and intellectual potential. Indeed, while media reports touted the fires that were then engulfing many parts of the South Bronx, Conzo and his cohorts were contributing to the building of a new and defiant cultural movement that would soon come to be known as Hip Hop. On the frontlines of documenting these early years, Conzo photographed street parties, concerts, and other gatherings that reflected the innovations in dance, music and fashion that Hip Hop brought to the fore. In addition, he was an astute chronicler of the social and physical context from which Hip Hop arose, with his work including poignant and captivating images of the devastated urban landscape of the South Bronx, as well as the surrounding Puerto Rican community.
Many of the images caught on black and white film by Conzo in the 1970s and 80s, have traveled extensively throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and are regarded by many as an important visual record of the pioneers of the modern Hip Hop movement, as well as of the people and political movements of the South Bronx. His first book “Born in The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop” (2007), a collaborative effort with noted New York musicologist and curator.
– adapted from a biography by Francisco Reyes