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Head to Photoville in Brooklyn to See Some Incredible Music Photography

Legendary photographer Janette Beckman's curated Dirty & Dirty—an exhibition of iconic, must-see music photography.

by Kim Taylor Bennett
Sep 17 2015, 12:05pm
Sly Stone and Kathy Silva ©

Photographer and exhibition curator Janette Beckman on selecting this image: I'm a huge Sly Stone fan. This photo is off the hook, he is kissing his fiancee Kathy Silva, it's so 70s the afro, the sweater, it's hot.

If you're anywhere near DUMBO in Brooklyn tonight through till Sunday then we urge you to go check out Photoville. Now in its fourth year, this pop-up photography village is made up of 65 plus shipping containers repurposed into galleries on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands. Since it was founded it's become NYC's largest photo event.

Some of this year's highlights include five large outdoor exhibitions presented by National Geographic: Robert Clark’s Taxidermy; Lynn Johnson’s Weed, chronicling the billion-dollar cannabis industry; Peter Muller’s Ebola, a collection of images from the remote forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the apex of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone; Stephanie Sinclair’s Living Goddesses, a rare look into the world of kumaris, prepubescent Newari girls who are worshipped as deities in the Kathmandu Valley; and selections from the magazine’s Instagram. Make the most of the good weather while you can, basically.

There will also be panel discussions, artist lectures, and hands-on workshops, not to mention beer and food courtesy of vendors by Smorgasburg. For the full raft of programing, go here, but below is a sampler from Photoville of what's really intriguing us about this whole shebang. Uber-awesome photographer Janette Beckman—whose storied career includes iconic shots starring everyone from Grandmaster Flash to Run D.M.C. to M.I.A.—has curated one containers-worth of music photography that'll blow your mind. The London-born, NY-based photographer has handpicked her favorite from a selection of world-renowned shooters, which includes some of her own classics. Below is a selection with commentary from Beckman herself. Go, go, go!

LL Cool J © Janette Beckman

Janette Beckman: I took this photo of the young LL Cool J in my studio in 1985. I think he was maybe 17 years old. I didn't pose him, just asked him to stand on the seamless. The boom box, the Kangol hat,the attitude and the innocence just seem to say something about the purity and innocence of hip hop back in the day.

Chuck D © Janette Beckman


I was living on Avenue B in the East Village that summer and Public Enemy was playing loud on every car radio. Public Enemy brought a new consciousness to hip-hop. Chuck looks strong, deep in thought. Both the LL Cool J and Chuck D photos are at Photoville, 12 foot high and painted by legendary artists Cey Adams and Queen Andrea as part of our Mash Up project.

Amy Winehouse © Jill Furmanovsky


I chose this image shot by Jill backstage. Amy so beautiful, happy, and full of life. Amy was a brilliant star, her life was a true rock 'n' roll tragedy. This photo says it all.


Joey Ramone © Roberta Bayley


Roberta's photos captured Blondie and the Ramones like no other. Joey, tall skinny carrying a surf board on the beach at Coney Island. I think it was shot for Punk magazine. Its just a great shot.

Continued below.

Roc-A-Fella Family, 2004. © Clay Patrick McBride,

This is an iconic photo—a moment in time I don't know where it was taken, but it is beautiful. It reminds me of photos from the 60s shot during the civil rights era.


Elton John 1971 © Barrie Wentzel.


Elton John! it is one of those rare great live photo moments, a shot that could never be staged—just pure Elton wild and crazy.

Ol'Dirty Bastard © Danny Clinch


My idea of the perfect moment, ODB just hanging having a crazy great time, Danny caught it—I wish I'd shot this.