Portraits of Hip-Hop’s Video Vixens

The Photo Blog
June 6 2013 8:00 AM

Guns, Bling, Money: Portraits of Hip-Hop’s Video Vixens

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Brian Finke

In music videos, the artist is the star. But in hip-hop, there are other people vying for the spotlight—the beautiful women who populate the bars, clubs, and hotel rooms of hip-hop music videos.

In his series, “Hip-Hop Honeys,” Brian Finke seeks to give them the attention they are due. How he goes about it, he said, is really quite simple.

“A lot of the stuff I do is very straightforward: Pick a subject matter and just obsess about it for a period of time, whether it's a week or a few years,” Finke said.

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Over the last 10 years, he’s done that with bodybuilders, flight attendants, and cheerleaders, among a wide variety of unique and distinctly American groups.

“It will be interesting another 10 years from now to connect the dots to see the common threads,” he said.

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Brian Finke

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Brian Finke

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Brian Finke

Finke first got the idea to dive into the hip-hop world at a photography festival in Italy last summer, when a magazine editor suggested he take a look. He started calling casting directors that August, and began shooting in January.

He has attended five video shoots in New York City since then. One was in a hotel room on Park Avenue South. Another was in a cigar bar in Harlem. Most are in traditional photo and video studios.

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Brian Finke

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Brian Finke

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Brian Finke

 “I always want the pictures to be about the people I’m photographing: the subtle expressions, the gestures, the little things that give insight into the personality of the person. I describe it as a stylized documentary,” Finke said.

Of the shoots he’s attended so far, Finke said that he prefers the less polished, B-level shoots, because he gets better access to his subjects. Once he gets on set, though, Finke generally finds the women open to being photographed.

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Brian Finke

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Brian Finke

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Brian Finke

“It's just one more camera. They're there to be seen and photographed. It just plays into that,” Finke said.

You can follow Brian Finke on Twitter and Tumblr.

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