“WHO – SHOT – YA!” An Interview w/ Brook BobbinsArt, Culture, Featured — By JGM Staff on July 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm
“WHO SHOT YA,” is the famous line Biggie used to start off his 1995 rap classic. It’s also a website for actual shots, photography shots that is, from NYC lifestyle photographer Brook Bobbins. I met Brook for the first time this summer at the after-party for Fool’s Gold Records retail store opening (see above photo) We bumped heads there and exchanged contact info. I’ve heard his name around town before so I knew I had to check his work out just out of curiosity. The next day one of my friends told me that they’d spoken to Brook and recalled to me how he was on top of a glass table inside of the FG after-party trying to take a picture. He actually fell through the table and proceeded to walk away as if nothing had happened. I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically after imagining the incident in my head. I proceeded to peep his site that day for the event photos and took notice of all of the events, concerts, and individuals he has shot and became pretty fascinated with his work. Brook has snapped rare and crazy photos of some of mine and your favorite artists in hip hop ranging from Odd Future all the way to his most recent flicks of Kanye at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. You really have to appreciate this guy’s work and all of the places and people he has shot within a year’s time. That work ethic certainly requires some dedication. To even get close to some of the people that he has shot or to even get the caliber of shots that he’s taken puzzles me and intrigues me at the same time. I recently had a conversation with Brook where he answered a few questions about himself and decided to also share some of his favorite photos along with the stories behind them. Enjoy!
Words by Logan Jean
JGM: When did you start the “WHO-SHOT-YA” website?
BB: I started the Who-Shot-Ya website in August of 2010. Its about to go on it’s 1 year anniversary.
JGM: Where are you originally from and where did you grow up?
BB: I was born in Hackney, London and then moved with my mother to New Jersey in the 80′s. I spent a fair amount of my childhood in upstate New York. When I finished school I moved to Yonkers, NY and lived there from 2000-2005. I have been a Bronx resident for the past 7 years.
JGM: How long have you been shooting?
BB: I started shooting photos on disposable cameras when I started going to shows in the late 90′s, but I went digital about 3 years ago and went in full time covering events, concerts as well as random stuff in my city and along my travels.
Picture Taker, Fornicator, Alcohol Abuser, Drug Partaker. I love music and I love photography. Being able to approach the 2 simultaneously is a dream come true. I try to shoot an event so the viewer can re-live a moment in time and feel as if they were there in the room at that moment in time. I like to capture emotion as well as keep things as natural as possible. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was from an anonymous email that simply stated “I can smell the funk in those venues through your photos” That meant a lot to me.
You can find me getting drunk and shoving a camera in your face.
Brook’s favorite photos taken in NYC.
BB: In June of 2010 N.E.R.D. played a private show at Brooklyn Bowl. These photos mean a lot to me because it is the first gallery I ever put up on my website.
BB: On Governors Island in 2010 Rock The Bells made it’s inaugural appearance at the space. I shot this flick of The RZA back by Wu’s compound. It is quite possibly my favorite photo I’ve ever taken.
BB: In October of 2010 I got the opportunity to shoot a private M.I.A. show at Brooklyn Bowl. I’m a huge fan of Maya and the energy in the building was incredible. I loved this event.
BB: So On October 23rd of 2010, the day Kanye dropped the Runaway video I was at CMJ Fader Fort with A-Trak. At the time we were only acquaintances, but he let me know not to miss the Fool’s Gold party in BK. I headed over and sure enough, Ye came thru. It was really incredible. I love that his face is hidden in this image.
BB: In November of 2010 I got a call from my homie asking me to come down to Pier 54 in Manhattan to shoot a Heineken event. I was weary, he told me Nas was there and I was out the door before the phone call ended. Nas is one of my favorite artists of all time and to capture him and Pete Rock in this moment was epic for me.
BB: November 2010 at Webster Hall I shot one of those photos that grows legs and is literally plastered everywhere. This was Odd Futures first NYC show and also the first time Mos Def met them. You all know where it went from there. You can even see the homie Frank Ocean in the back.
BB: I always enjoy getting put onto new music. Especially when it’s as incredible as the music that Little Dragon is putting out. I was invited to spend some time with the band and really fell in love with everything about them. This is a double exposure of Yukimi shot in January of 2011 at Bowery Ballroom.
BB: So back to A-Trak, after CMJ we stayed in touch, and at this point I would consider him a friend. He always invites me out to anything Fools Gold related and their parties really are the most fun I have out shooting. I love this photo, it was taken in April of 2010 at Terminal 5 in Manhattan.
BB: This is a photo of Left Brain in the crowd at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. I love going around with Odd Future, we work great together. I fucking love this photo.