Somber. Soaring. Stern. Eerily silent. Chi Modu’s breathtaking portrait of the late hip-hop legend Notorious B.I.G . resonates even more powerfully as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
In partnership with Chi Modu, Rock Paper Photo is offering this 11×11 inch Archival Chromogenic print as a special Memorial Edition. Each photograph is hand-signed by the photographer, numbered and titled in the border, and framed to museum quality. Only 110 prints will be made in the edition, signifying the number of floors in each Tower.
“This image helps immortalize these iconic New York City cornerstones in the eyes and minds of our generation,” Chi observes. “When I look at the Biggie WTC image, I reflect on what was and am reminded of how what we see as permanent today may not be here tomorrow.”
Chi and Rock Paper Photo will donate a portion of the proceeds of each purchase to New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund
The cost of the framed Special World Trade Center Memorial Edition is $500. Please click here to order .
Chi tells the story behind this photo: “When the idea came to me to represent Notorious B.I.G as the King of New York, I thought what better setting than to have two of the quintessential New York City buildings in the background. In one of Biggie’s earlier songs, he has a line where he refers to the original failed bombing of the World Trade Center with his verse, ‘blow up like the World Trade.’”
Setting up an image he expected to run as a cover of Source magazine, Chi chose Liberty State Park in Jersey City for its unobstructed view of the Twin Towers. “Biggie liked the concept,” he says. “After postponing the shoot a few times because of scheduling conflicts, we finally completed the mission and I was able to capture all three New York icons in the picture.”
Today the photographer also appreciates the photo from another angle: “It screams of late nineties style. The colorful Coogi sweater and the gold emblazoned Versace sunglasses were the uniform of the times.”
The magazine’s art director went with another image for the cover, depicting Biggie emerging out of a Photoshop-created New York City. Chi saw a missed opportunity, a position made only stronger, he says, by the events of 9/11. “The positive thing about the image not being on the cover is that now that we are all becoming reflective as we approach the tenth anniversary of the downing of the Towers as well as the fifteenth anniversary of Biggie’s death next spring, this image remains fresh and can help to further immortalize these icons in the hearts and minds of a generation. “
To see Chi Modu’s other iconic portraits of hip-hop’s royalty, visit our Featured Collection in our online gallery.
View Chi Modu’s Image Collection
Credit: Notorious B.I.G., Jersey City, New Jersey, 1997
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