Behind The Most Iconic Portrait of Rap Artist Tupac Shakur

If you had an opportunity to photograph anyone who has ever lived, who would that person be? Photographer, Danny Clinch has photographed some of the music industry’s biggest names, including iconic rap artist, Tupac Shakur.

Breaking into the photography world as an intern for famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, photographer and filmmaker Danny Clinch has captured portraits of music legends such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur, and The Smashing Pumpkins - just to drop a few names.

Noted for taking one of the most well know images of rap artist Tupac Shakur, in this short interview, Clinch talks briefly about his mindset when he photographed the artist and even mentions that he framed the iconic shot with the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in mind, leaving enough space in the frame so that if Tupac’s album ever “blew up,” the portrait could be used as a cover for the popular publication – something Clinch says was merely a pipe dream at the time.

“I was really happy with the session we had done - and proud of it. I just had no idea it was going to turn into one of the few really solid photographs of Tupac.”

As we know now, not only did Tupac's album become smashingly popular, the photograph taken by Clinch did as well, going on to become one of the most widely circulated and reproduced images of the artist.

Log in or register to post comments


Almost like being behind the scenes. These words have influenced me for future similar shoots. Thanks!

Joe Black's picture

Amazing! Thanks for sharing!