It wasn’t until 2011 when I was sorting through slide photographs and beginning to catalog my images that I seriously took a look at that one slide of a dude giving me the finger with a strong shadow on his face…"No f’n way!" I said, shocked I didn’t realize the guy with the shadow in his face was Tupac.
I did not have a light meter to tell me the proper f-stop to set my aperture, nor did I have polaroid back to see what things actually looked like. My camera was a Canon AE-1 Program, manual everything.
I would make the flashes pop every so often so I could see where and how the light fell, I did a few calculation to determine possible f-stops based on feet of the flash away from the subject, how much light I would lose because of the gel on the flash, it was the best I could do.
The publicist gathered the guys in the group, Tek and Steel, and we all exchanged hellos. I suggested we go up to the roof. We had been up to the roof so many times in the past just to hangout, so going up there now with a camera was no different.
Seeing Will in this outfit, I knew I had to take a picture of him. We shot at the edge of the set while the technicians were testing the lighting. After about 10 frames, I thanked Will and we sat back down until he had to get back on camera.
I motioned my hand asking to take one photo of him and Talib. They looked at each other and agreed. I stepped back, focused my Yashica Mat (124 G) camera, took one shot and thanked them as they headed for the stage.
Using the ambient light in the hallway I began shooting them from different angles. After the first 8 frames, the group relaxed and stopped doing the typical 'rap, yo!' poses, vibing with each other. Each of their actions was fluid, in sync with the movements of the others. If there was a low angle shift, someone else moved high; if someone gave a look, someone else would motion or adjust their look to stay complementary to the person adjacent.
About a hour before the doors were open to the public, I talked my way into the venue. One of The Source Magazine staffers likely waived me in to the show, still without a photo pass. The awards show started off ok but, soon enough, things started to turn…