Beginning in 2013, documentary photographer Brian Finke spent three years visiting the sets of hip hop video shoots to document the behind-the-scenes world of professional video models. Over the course of three years, he captured many of the industry’s well-known models as they lounged, preened, and dazed off between takes. His work is now available in a book entitled Hip Hop Honeys and published by powerHouse Books and on view in an exhibition at ClampArt in New York.
When Finke set about documenting the professional lives of video models, he found himself on the set of video shoots for artists including Jay-Z, Busta’ Rhymes, and Kanye West. Choosing to expose both the glamour and the boredom of professional video shoot – where moments of high-octane action are often followed by hours upon hours of waiting around – Finke employed his signature hyper-saturated aesthetic to document video models in their everyday work uniforms.
As with any profession, the labor involved in professional video modeling has its ups and downs. Through this series, Finke allows his viewers to experience the range of experiences endemic to being on a film set. Many of his photographs capture the emotions of his subjects as they fluctuate between highly energized and deeply bored. To complement this compassionate approach to documentation, Finke also focuses on the visually dynamic costuming used for these shoots, providing viewers with an insider’s look at the provocative and imaginative hair, makeup, and styling that give many videos their “wow” factor. Finke also developed collaborative working relationships with many of the models he photographed, and often consulted with them when choosing the best takes of each image.
Brian Finke, Hip Hop Honeys
Published by powerhouse Books
Exhibition from March 29 to May 12, 2018
247 W 29th St
New York, NY 10001