New York born photographer Ricky Powell, bwar known for his documentation of New York’s ’90s-era hip hop and downtown creative scene, died yesterday (February 1, 2021) at age 59. According to HipHopDX, Powell died from heart failure.
Powell, who referred to himself as “The Lazy Hustler,” was recently active on Instagram, having posted an outing with a friend at the International Center of Photography on Sunday.
Born in Brooklyn and raised Greenwich Village where he was living at the time of his death, Powell became serious about becoming a photographer in 1985 when Paper issued him his first official press pass.
The following year he invited to join the Beastie Boys who were the openers on Run-DMC‘s Raising Hell tour. Both groups were signed to Def Jam, which tapped Powell to photograph multiple artists signed to the label.
Powell was known for iconic images of Chuck D, LL Cool J, Madonna, Eric B and Rakim and Keith Haring. Among his most popular images is an impromptu one of Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat captured while en route to a SoHo art show
Powell was a Frozade street vendor before he became a full time photographer and also photographed Basquiat while on the job at a West Broadway corner.
Powell has released five photo books and his worked has been featured in multiple sole and group exhibits. Last year, he was the subject of a documentary titled, Ricky Powell: The Individualist.