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Vikki Tobak shares her Journey to Creating the Coffee Table Book, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop



Vikki Tobak
Photography by Lisa Leone


We’re back in Brooklyn, DUMBO to be exact and this time we are kicking it with Vikki Tobak. Vikki is a journalist, producer and the author of Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. In this episode we talk about growing up in Detroit, her photography moment, working with Gang Starr, working at Paper Magazine, interviewing Diddy when he was on the come up and her journey to Contact High.

About Vikki

  1. Purchase Contact High: A Visual
    History of Hip-Hop
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram

VIKKI TOBAK is a journalist whose writing has appeared in The Fader, Complex, Mass Appeal, Paper, i-D, the Detroit News, Vibe, and many others. She is a former producer and columnist for CBS MarketWatch, CNN, Bloomberg News, TechTV, and other leading media organizations. Vikki is also the founding curator of FotoDC’s film program and served as the art commissioner/curator for the Palo Alto Public Art Commission in Silicon Valley. She has lectured about music photography at American University, VOLTA New York, Photoville, the Library of Congress, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.


Contact High

(excerpted from Vikki Tobak’s introduction)

Photographs, like music, are imprinted onto our collective consciousness. Both define our individual and cultural identities and help shape how we view the world and ourselves. In the case of hip-hop, a medium that encompasses so many transformative moments from politics to race to style, both the visuals and the music become a part of us. It’s not just that one powerful song that has a way of getting under your skin, it’s also the visuals that equally captivate, and stick with us for years to come. It’s the union of hip-hop visuals and music that we honor in this book.

Contact High spotlights the photographers who have played critical roles in bringing these visuals onto a global stage. By tracing a timeline of almost forty plus years of hip-hop culture through contact sheets, one gets a rare glimpse into the creative process. Organized chronologically, Contact High stands as a visual archive of hip-hop-an intimate look at the making of the imagery that shaped the sound.



Show Notes



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Photography by Janette Beckman

Salt-N-Pepa // Photography by Janette Beckman


Show Notes Continued…


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This episode is sponsored by Gorilla Coffee.

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