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Mel D. Cole
The Hip-Hop/Skater/Stripper Photographer
Mel D. Cole has seen it all—and photographed it. As documented on his blog, Village Slum, he’s captured—in crisp black-and-white detail—everything from early Ninjasonik shows and P. Diddy’s White Parties to glossy sponsorship events for Heineken and Puma and stripclub blowouts (with his sticker strategically placed on g-strings). More recently, Mel has shot the likes of ASAP Rocky (at Music Hall), the Fifth Annual Roots Picnic in Philly (with performances by The Roots and Mos Def), the Go Skateboarding Everyday! parties at the SPACE, and the Mad Decent Block Party. Whatever he’s shooting, his iconically gritty 70s subculture aesthetic comes through, proving that New York is still home to the raw energy of youth.
What do you try to capture in your shots?
I try to capture the raw emotional energy people create when partying or performing. I think when you try to capture those two elements, you can’t lose!
What are you looking forward to shooting this fall?
More Heineken concerts. Why? Cause they are really fun, and they pay well. I’m also looking forward to photographing more and more concerts. Oh, and more women for my Not Really Nude series. As far as parties and events... blah. I’m looking forward to photographing the unexpected ones where I’m just there with no camera, the shit is popping, and I have to run to a bodega or two to try to find a disposable camera so I can shoot. Yup… always goes back to the disposables.
How do you prepare for a night out (and, do you have a shooting uniform)?
I make sure I get enough sleep (five to six hours) and just make sure everything is charged up and away I go! Oh, and I have to make sure I have my chapstick and stickers to give out to my millions and millions of Mel D. Cole fans!
How do you recuperate, especially with those time-sensitive turnarounds?
Sleep—or rather, trying to sleep. I drink Gatorade or coconut water and stand on my head while counting turkey burgers and future Buffalo Bills Superbowl championships. Go Bills!
The Party Photographers We Love: Mel D. Cole