Once Def Jam's “Fourth Beastie Boy,” Now a NYC Street Photography Legend–Meet Ricky Powell

Famed photographer and historian Ricky Powell is curating an exhibit of iconic photography by an all-star group of shutterbugs. The images will drop your jaw, move your heart and make you smile. You don’t want to miss this show which opens on December 17th and runs through December 22nd at MILK Studios (450 West 15th Street). Meet curator and photographer Ricky Powell.

Tell us something intriguing about this all-star group exhibit you are curating.
Iv'e always had a vision of creating an event to bring together my group of friends/artists, while having great DJs play the kind of stuff I like, ambiance-enhancing jazzy funk. So, it all came together for my 50th, and I took the opportunity that it presented. It could have been a solo show at the local deli but by working with my right-hand man Craig Wetherby, and Milk, I curated a show with three different types of photographers: living legends, regular folk like me who take pictures for the love, then the young and upcoming, or as I like to call them, the rookie phenoms.

What was the biggest challenge in narrowing down your choices of images and photographers for this particular show?
Upholding the integrity of the show with no nepotism at all, while not hurting too many feelings of people who couldn't get down.

What do you hope people who see the exhibit come away feeling like?

Blown away!

Your own extensive work and shooting with the Beastie Boys lead to you sometimes being referred to as "The Fourth Beastie Boy." Is there a current musical act you'd be stoked to be named a de facto member of?
The Roots

Who do you wish would friend you on Facebook?

Faye Dunaway, Joe Namath

If you were a benevolent dictator for a day, what's the first thing in the world you'd change?
It's hard to say, but if so, it would be to better look after the animals. They don't speak our language.

What kind of kid were you in high school?
Just a regular Village kid, nothing special… a playground rat.

What is your favorite late-night bite?

Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street

What is your favorite thing between two buns?
A loaf of soy--I love tempeh burgers.
Where do you like to hang in the city in the nightlife scene?

I don't have a steady but one of my favorites is the Village Vanguard Jazz Club--the cathedral of jazz if I may.

Are you involved with any charities?

Yes, Animal Haven and The United Ricky Powell Pizza Fund

What is one thing about you that would totally surprise people?

I embody the essence of and emulate Oscar Madison.

If I were not a photographer, I would be ______________.

The most interesting man in the world.

Check out some of Ricky's classic shots here.

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