Published by Testify Books. Introduction by Hilton Als.
Street Level collects 20 years of documentary and commercial photography by esteemed New York photographer Sue Kwon. Her subjects include some of Hip Hop's finest, such as the Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls and the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as portraits and street scenes from New York's most charismatic neighborhoods--Little Italy, Chinatown, Coney Island, the Lower East Side and a pre-Guiliani Times Square. These black-and-white images, characterized by an evident fondness for the lives they depict, are populated with recruits from all realms and occasions, from shoe-shiners to inmates at the Rahway State Prison to newlyweds and strippers between sets at the infamous Sue's Rendezvous. As direct and candid as their subjects, Sue Kwon's photographs share a kinship with those of the legendary New York documentary photographer Helen Levitt. Although Kwon is well known in the Hip Hop world, this is the first complete monograph to survey her work. Sue Kwon began her career at the Village Voice, shooting subjects that ranged from N.W.A. to Covenant House runaways to underground Jamaican nightclubs in Queens. She went on to shoot primarily Hip Hop artists for record labels like Def Jam, Sony and Loud Records. While much of her current work centers on her own projects, she still photographs campaigns for companies such as Burton Snowboards, Gravis and A Bathing Ape. Kwon lives and works in New York City.