1993-08-18 / Tupac Photoshoot by Danny Clinch

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On August 18, 1993, Tupac shot one of the most memorable photo session with photographer Danny Clinch in New York.

“There’s a session that everybody always asks me about with Tupac Shakur in 1993. I shot a lot of hip hop back in the day and there was always a really big entourage if you were doing an album packaging or editorial. It was always a lot of people – way more than necessary.

“Then I got the assignment from Rolling Stone to shoot Tupac. And I was excited about it, really excited about getting a Rolling Stone shoot. Even though they told me the photo was only going to run over a quarter-page, I was envisioning a Rolling Stone cover. At the time, I was not only doing really loose, documentary-style photography I had also taken this old 4×5 camera, which is a very slow portrait-style camera. So I decided to really concentrate on that.

“So Tupac shows up – with just one guy. And he was really excited about being photographed. He was really professional. He showed up on time, ready to go, and had bought a couple of different shirts and a Thug Life jacket. We got started shooting a few photographs. He was really intrigued by this big old-view camera where you put the hood over your head and you get in there. It’s a slow process. He was super photogenic and the camera loved him.

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“At one point he said, ‘Let me change it up,’ and he took his shirt off and you could see all his tattoos – the Thug Life tattoo and the scars on his chest. I don’t think I would have ever asked him to take off his shirt. Collaboration can be a small part of a session, but it can really make a big difference, and he was really into it. So we started to shoot with the shirt off, which for me, became the epic photo. They ran the photo as a quarter-page. Then three years later, he’s killed and that photo wound up on the cover of Rolling Stone.”

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