Missy Elliott and Li’l Kim dressed up as anime characters, resting between takes on the set of the “Sock It 2 Me” music video.
Biz Markie bouncing off his chair in a dressing room of the Apollo Theater.
Doug E. Fresh blowing out candles on his birthday cake that’s decorated to look like a vinyl record, as Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs peers over his shoulder.
These and nearly 20,000 similar images can now be viewed online as Cornell University Library launches the Ernie Paniccioli Photo Archive, a digital collection chronicling hip-hop music and culture from the 1980s to the early 2000s. The collection features digitized photographic slides selected from Paniccioli’s larger archive of more than 100,000 images and artifacts housed in the Cornell Hip Hop Collection.
Paniccioli was born Feb. 26, 1947, in Brooklyn, New York, to Cree Native American and Italian parents, and spent his teens steeped in the bohemian spirit of Greenwich Village. Later, working as an analyst for a telephone company, he started documenting graffiti on buildings and in the subways on his commute. The graffiti artists Paniccioli befriended introduced him to kindred hip-hop musicians, who then welcomed him into their tight-knit community as “Brother Ernie.”
In the ’80s, he became the principal photographer for Word Up! and Rap Masters magazines; his pictures also have appeared in The Source, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and Newsweek. He has also exhibited in galleries and published several books, including “Who Shot Ya? Three Decades of Hip Hop Photography” and “Hip Hop at the End of the World: The Photography of Brother Ernie.”
Direct to Ernie Paniccioli Photo Archive