Def Jam Recordings to premiere new docu-series focusing on hip-hop photography

UMe/Def Jam premieres the new three-episode docu-series Through The Lens

In conjunction with the ongoing 35th anniversary year celebration of Def Jam Recordings, and the 30th anniversary of Public Enemy’s worldwide breakthrough album Fear Of A Black Planet, UMe/Def Jam premieres the new three-episode docu-series Through The Lens today.

Produced by Def Jam and UMe, Through The Lens can be streamed here via Def Jam’s YouTube channel.

An ode to the impact of the iconic photography that became synonymous with Def Jam and its biggest stars, Through The Lens will focus on the three distinct eras that span the label’s 35-year history to date, following three post-modern titans of photo­graphy: Janette Beckman, Ricky Powell, and Jonathan Mannion.

Episode one of Through The Lens premieres today, focusing on British-born photographer Janette Beckman, who was one of the first photographers to shoot LL Cool J, T La Rock and Slick Rick, whose images are featured in the series.

Episode two premieres on June 26th and features photographer Ricky Powell with in-depth interviews and images, with most of the latter unreleased including a photo of Chuck D at a mutual friend’s wedding in the Dominican Republic in 1989 on the precipice of Public Enemy releasing the album Fear Of The Black Planet.

Episode three premieres on July 10th and focuses on the photos of photographer and film director Jonathan Mannion, who has shot more than 300 album covers and worked with hip-hop and R&B performers including Jay Z and Young Jeezy.

Through The Lens also features interviews with original first-generation Def Jam artist LL Cool J; music journalist, hip-hop archivist, essayist and original first-generation Def Jam publicity director Bill Adler; and long-time Def Jam visual artist, graphic designer and style guru Cey Adams. Adler and Adams collaborated on the 300-page coffee-table book, Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label (Rizzoli, 2010), which also happens to be packed with the photography of Powell, Beckman, and Mannion (among many others).