San Francisco music photographer, Marcus Hanschen has worked relentlessly for the past twelve years recording the next great tradition of American popular music and culture, Rap. Hanschen hopes to bring us face to face with the music we hear everyday as well as preserve for the future what is forming our cultural lives in the present. Many of the images in Hanschen’s work related to the subject of Rap artists were taken from assignments performed for the periodical Murderdog, a leading publication devoted to Rap and the gangsta genre. He has traveled throughout the United States, from traditional power centers like New York and Los Angeles, to underground strongholds like Gary, Indiana and Jackson, Mississippi, to document the most influential and controversial artists of modern music’s most powerful force. Not all the images were created for the magazine, but the publication certainly allowed him to focus on one musical form thus bringing in focus his own work. Some portraits were commissioned, and some created purely for the love of the artists. But they were all made with a unifying style in mind, the tradition of such masters as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Immediately the question comes to mind of why does Hanschen choose such a formal route for his subject matter. By eliminating the background through dark or light, Hanschen hopes to isolate the individual, to make an image that is completely focused on the person, to make them iconic. Hanschen finds showing these poets in the simplest form, alone, is a celebration of their individuality. As the artists often perform solely with their voice, Hanschen photographs them with solely the light as his tool.
Marcus continues to add to this project and others, works for an array of national publications and clients, and is a lecturer at the University of California Berkeley and other institutions. This is Hanschen’s first solo exhibition.
290 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA
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