Ricky Powell is a native New Yorker who has been taking pictures professionally since 1985. Known as one of the leading photographers of the New York music scene, especially rap and hip hop, Ricky has shot numerous performers including Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Method Man and Cyprus Hill.
Powell first fell into photography in 1985, at around the same time he connected with the up and coming Beastie Boys. At first he just hung out with them and went to a few of their gigs. Then when he heard they had gone to perform in Florida with Run DMC for the Raising Hell tour, Powell quit his job as a Frozade vendor and joined them on the tour bus. He shot a few photographs that became significant and was subsequently brought along on the License to Ill tour in ‘87 and Together Forever tour with Run DMC and then ‘92 Check Your Head tour and the ‘94 Lollapalooza. Ricky became known as Def Jam’s unofficial chronicler and famously as the alleged fourth Beastie Boy during the group’s Licensed to Ill and Paul’s Boutique era.
He's difficult to categorize because he does many things -- writing columns for many editorials, hosting his own public access show, “Rappin with the Rickster,” which released a 20th Anniversary dvd last yee, co-hosting on the East Viillage radio show, “Chances with Wolves,” as well as designing sneakers, headphones, and clothing lines. In fact, if he must be characterized professionally, Ricky prefers to be called an 'Individualist.”
When it comes to photography, his main forte is street photography. He is featured in the Cheryl Dunn's documentary, “Everybody Street,” and earlier this year released his fifth book, “Bug Out!” Ricky says, “Street photography is like my transistor radio: the play list is infinite.”
His work has been published in The New York Times, the New York Post, the Daily News, The Village Voice, Time, Newsweek, VIBE, The Source, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He currently lives and works in the West Village.