Ernie Paniccioli : The Hip Hop Photographer



From the perspective of a person who takes personal enjoyment in creating digital stories, I very much appreciate the contributions that hip hop photographer, Ernie Paniccioli has made to the hip hop culture for the better part of 30 years.  Brother Ernie AKA The Hip Hop Photographer has been on hand to digitally capture some incredible moments of some of the greatest artists to ever pick up a microphone.  On a recent trip to Toronto, I had a chance to spend some time with Ernie and was able to a bit of “documentation” of my own as Brother Ernie presented to a room full of hip hop enthusiasts hungry for the stories about some of most iconic names in hip hop.

But for Ernie, its much deeper than just hip hop…

About Ernie:

Author of Who Shot Ya? – Three Decades of Hip Hop Photography and regarded by most to be the premier ‘Hip-Hop photographer in America’, Paniccioli first made his foray into the culture in 1973 when he began capturing the ever-present graffiti art dominating New York City. Armed with a 35-millimeter camera, Paniccioli has recorded the entire evolution of Hip Hop. Much in the same way Gordon Parks recorded the Civil Rights Movement, or akin to the manner in which James Van Der Zee, the documentary photographer of Harlem in the 1920s, met the energy and spirit of the times head-on with his picture-making. And like Edward S. Curtis’ monumental prints of the Native peoples of North America, himself a Native American, has found a beauty and resiliency in a community often ignored by mainstream society.  Inductee and 2013 UNIVERSAL ZULU NATION Human Soul Award Recipient as well as creator of “THE OTHER SIDE OF HIP HOP”-Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary in 2007. As well, Ernie’s archive of photographs has been purchased by Cornell University, as part of their Hip Hop Collection. His archive consists of over 100,000 photographs and it is due to Ernie’s rapport with artists as well as his street cred, that such a vast body of work exists.  From Grandmaster Flash at the Roxy (a popular Manhattan nightclub of the late 70’s and early 1980s), to the athletic moves of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, to the fresh faces of Queen Latifah, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and Lauryn Hill. Paniccioli has been in the forefront documenting the greatest cultural movement since Rock and Roll in the 1950s. A true renaissance man, Paniccioli is also a painter, public speaker, and historian.