Ahead of his appearance at Body & Soul as a co-host of the Hennessy Sound Lounge, British-Ghanaian artist eddie OTCHERE best known for his photos of the seminal rappers and DJs of the mid 1990s and noughties, has a word about connecting with that scene, the woes of modern day Britain and why he’s excited to explore the Irish countryside.
A talented photographer who has gone from the bustle and colour of London to the stillness of the countryside. eddie OTCHERE talks to me about that and how he got into photography and what sparked that passion. I have been speaking with him about the much-anticipated Bass in the City weekend (next week) - it is part of London’s City Life Festival; a month-long run of events across October celebrating the unique diversity and vibrancy of the capital.
eddie OTCHERE’s central London studio isn’t really a studio at all, it’s more of a museum. The small space is packed with ephemera from a wide-ranging photography career that has spanned the better part of three decades. The room is filled with Otchere’s day-to-day shooting gear, as well as a host of cameras, film boxes and equipment shared between Otchere and the Film’s Not Dead collective. In addition to showcasing Otchere’s extensive archive — including portraits of Aaliyah, Jay-Z and more — the items displayed in the studio are artifacts from film photography. As Otchere says, “the whole point of having these resources is to hand them over ‘here’s a camera, here’s film, shoot. Tell your story.”
A testament to the power of youth culture, independence, and creativity, Dazed Magazine has been at the cutting edge of media since being founded in 1991. Seamlessly moving between print and digital, Dazed stays fresh by keeping its connection to the community fully versed in the power of the present.
Most recently, Dazed teamed up with Red Hook Labs, a Brooklyn-based public benefit corporation, to create Dazed+Labs, a series of free classes and mentoring in the arts to UK youth — a concerted effort organized in response to cuts in UK education funding.
The partnership premiered in November 2018 with a ten-week, two-hour photography class held at the Rugby Portobello Trust, a West London youth center, led by photographer eddie OTCHERE and Dazed’s Arts & Culture editor Ashleigh Kane.
In May 2017, at the end of a week-long commission for the Brighton festival, eddie OTCHERE picked up his camera and ventured out into the countryside. As hikes go, it was fairly unremarkable: he wandered into the South Downs and then wandered back again. But for a committed Londoner like Otchere, whose 25-year career as a photographer has been intimately tied to urban subjects – he documented the rise of drum’n’bass in the mid-90s and is best known for his revealing portraits of rappers such as Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan – this walk marked the beginning of something new and unexpected and even, he admits, a little bit terrifying.
Eddie’s prolific work photographing 1990s hip-hop legends hadn’t been exhibited on this scale before so we invited him to unearth his collection to a new audience. While creating the exhibition, he discovered negatives that had never been seen before.
Once dubbed the 10th Wu-Tang member, eddie OTCHERE has become critically-acclaimed for his incredible photography, including a curator role at the National Portrait Gallery and shooting artists such as Jay Z, Nas, Snoop Dog and Aaliyah. And, his work has been celebrated in its unique quality to encapsulate subcultures and ephemeral moments in music history.
Off Safety is set to bring its touring photography show to Kinfolk 94 in Brooklyn, NY. The show will put on a grand display of vintage hip-hop images captured by renowned photographers, Eddie Otchere and Paul Chan.
Otchere’s portfolio is comprised of intimate portraits spotlighting Aaliyah, Notorious BIG, Outkast, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, and more. On the other hand, Chan has accrued throwback snaps of Lil Wayne, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes to name a few. Collectively, the show aims to immerse viewers in the ’90s and ’00s scene with its distinct fashion styles and trends.
Eddie Otchere is best known for the plethora of photographs he’s taken of artists from hip hop’s golden age, circa the late-Eighties/early-Nineties. He’s shot everyone from icons such as Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls, to the late Aaliyah to a startling series of images of Wu Tang Clan. Born and raised in London, he was also very much involved in documenting the birth of British bass culture on the drum & bass scene, most especially the seminal Metalheadz night at the Blue Note. More recently, Otchere spent time as an Assistant Curator at the National Portrait Gallery and in 2007 was partly responsible for the acclaimed exhibition, Devotional, featuring British black female singers.
Acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere will set up a community darkroom – an open-access space in which the people of Brighton can capture, reflect on and share their experiences, celebrating what it is to be part of a community.