Photographer Jonathan Mannion’s pointed his lens at Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nas, Fabolous, Eminem, Aaliyah, creating some of rap’s most recognizable covers of the late‘90s/early-2000s. He’s the guy who shot a picture of DMX covered in crimson for his Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood album and took Jigga’s cover shots for his first four albums. He also immortalized these icons on less than 5” square CD covers–less than half the size of a 12” album.
Earlier this month, Mannion aimed his camera at some public school students in NYC for a photo essay workshop, as part of the Don’t Steal Possible campaign, which reports that there’s roughly 143,000 kids attending failing schools in New York, and at 371 of them, 90% of the students can’t read or write at grade level.
Sure, the academic careers of DMX or Weezy didn’t them any awards, but they had visions, ideas, and drive–things Mannion aims to pass down, from his 20 years of taking photographs.
“This project is about communicating the idea that anything is possible in this lifetime,” he said. “Regardless of what path you choose, education is at the core of everything that you.”
Here’s a video of Mannion at the “How to Create a Photo Essay” workshop, passing on his insights on how to shoot great photos and not just waste pixels on selfies and #foodporn that only you care about.