New York-based photographer Mike Schreiber will soon be releasing a new book called True Hip Hop. It's a collection of photos that he's taken over an 11 year period that includes some of the biggest names in the hip hop scene. He shoots mostly in black and white, capturing a raw and real side to them that we don't often get to see. As a self-taught photographer, Schreiber originally got his start by approaching artists at concerts and parties. He then started focusing on portraits and soon his work was featured in prestigious magazines like Esquire, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine as well as in music magazines such as VIBE, URB and SPIN.
Mike Schreiber, the photographer I caught up with Schreiber to ask him a few questions about his work. His answers to my questions were just as raw as his portraits. Q: Who was your favorite hip hop artist to shoot and why? Any stories you'd like to share? A: I really liked shooting David Banner. He was real cool. Just good people. M.I.A. is also a favorite. I've shot her three times and it's always fun. She's dope. She wrote something really sweet for my book. I'd shoot her every day if i could. 🙂 Maino was also fun, and probably my favorite overall shoot in terms of how the pictures turned out. Q: What are some of the qualities you think it takes to be a professional photographer? A: Thick skin and big balls! Q: What's the favorite part of your job? A: Being interviewed and talking about myself. I dunno. For real, it's probably the spontaneity and the limitless possibilities. I like the fact that if i hadn't taken the pictures that I've taken, they wouldn't exist. Those moments would have passed and been forgotten. Q. Tell us about your book. A: The book is called “True Hip Hop” and it's being published by Mark Batty Publishing. It's a collection of hip hop photos that I've taken over the years (1998-2009), with accompanying stories about some of the photos. I'm pretty proud of it. It's got many of my most well-known portraits as well as some stuff that i dug up from the archives. Q: Any advice you'd like to give to aspiring photographers? A: Learn how to use a light meter. And don't take it personally when people don't get back to you. Just keep knocking. And most importantly, shoot stuff that interests you. That way, even if you don't make any money, at least you had fun taking the pictures. Q. Who do you still want to shoot in the hip hop world? A: I'm down to shoot anybody, but there's no one in particular that i'm chomping at the bit to shoot. I've never been that way. I've never really cared who i was shooting. I've always just been happy to be there and excited to see how it turns out. Q: You mentioned in previous articles that a part of your success can be attributed to hustling. Do you think that's a quality most people need to have to be successful? A: I think so. I still hustle hard, just in a different way. My dad was an orthodontist, and his hustle was the same as mine… find clients and do great work for them! It's pretty simple. Either that or go get a job. Feel me? True Hip Hop comes out on Oct. 26, but it's available for pre-order now on Amazon. Mike Schreiber