"The definitive portrait of that person, in that moment, is what I strive for every single time out. When you close your eyes and think of a picture of Jay-Z, I want it to be my picture."
For the past twenty years, Jonathan Mannion has made a living "chasing moments" as a hip-hop photographer. In this TED Talk recorded in New Orleans back in November, Mannion shares stories of some of his favorite portraits with some of his favorite artists, from climbing on stage at the Palladium to get shots of Biggie Smalls and Lil Kim, to convincing DMX to climb into a pool of blood for the Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood album cover. He talks about the connection between a photographer and his subjects, and about building relationships and gaining access to take pictures that no one else can.
There are several prints available on Mannion's website, including limited run contact sheet prints from the night at the Palladium with Biggie in '95 and the session with Aaliyah in 2001 that he mentions in the talk.