Tribute to Ricky Powell | An unexpected interview about jazz, sustainability and dreams



Ricky Powell, hip-hop photographer who captured New York culture, dies aged 59. The photographer who documented Def Jam artists as well as Madonna, Andy Warhol and more was known for his longstanding work with the Beastie Boys, was a big supporter of sustainability. We want to pay tribute to him remembering the interview we had in 2017. 




Hotel Zoo-Berlin. 10,30 am. We have an appointment with the famed New York City street photographer Ricky Powell, currently residing in Greenwich Village. This legendary photographer specializes in the environmental portrait. Powell initially rose to fame because of his work with LL Cool J, RUN DMC and The Beastie Boys and he is well-known for his intimate photographs.

His photographs simultaneously convey intimacy and detachment, as they provide a unique lense through which the viewer can analyze the mundane. Powell considers the relationship between the photographer and the photograph to be a chemical connection of some sort. He came to Berlin because he is part of a sustainable fashion project, lead by the sustainable street fashion brand Dedicated. This brand wants to be the positive alternative, to always use the most sustainable fabrics and to secure decent working conditions for both farmers and workers. Ricky Powell loves this project. That is why some of his great pictures are featured in a capsule collection of sustainable t-shirts.

We are excited, with lots of questions in our pocket… He is at the bar, having a smoothie with the PR responsables of the hotel. There is a place in the lobby where one of Ricky Powell’s pictures can fix perfectly. Images comes and go, inspiration flows in the air, he gives us a hug and starts to talk about funny things that make us laugh.


Funny, fresh and, above all, umpredictable… We get into his most reserved side, where he feels comfortable, talking about street photography, jazz, sustainability, inspirations, changing times, Berlin and New York. We really like him and the way he looks to the future.