TUPAC SHAKUR | UNCATEGORIZED
Legendary photographer Chi Modu releases Tupac Shakur | UNCATEGORIZED book
Documentary photographer Chi Modu together with Uncategorized press published a 200-page hardcover book with over 100 images of Tupac Shakur, many of which have never been made public. According to Modu, who had unparalleled access to Tupac and considered him a friend, “Tupac had a profound impact on so many people, and his appeal transcends race, class, age, and geography. It’s time to celebrate his life and there’s no better way than to share these photos with the world.”
When Modu first met Tupac during a shoot in Atlanta for The Source magazine in 1994, he quickly won his trust and respect. This was the beginning of a relationship that would last until Tupac’s death in September 1996, when he was shot in a drive-by in Las Vegas after a leaving a Mike Tyson boxing match.
Tupac felt comfortable around Modu because, in Modu’s words, “I didn’t really look at my subjects as just celebrities. I saw them as young black guys like me. It allowed me to get closer and it allowed them to be comfortable and just be who they were.” This is what allowed Modu to capture the candid, un-staged, human side of this emerging superstar rather than the commercialized persona he was encouraged to portray. Instead of seeing Tupac onstage performing, we see him at home during unguarded moments, doing those commonplace things all of us do, looking young and vulnerable.
Modu’s Uncategorized brand was born in NYC in 2013 as an outdoor installation of massive images of Tupac, Biggie, and Snoop that got the city talking. According to Modu, “The art world tends to be very exclusive and full of obstacles for both the artists and the public. My goal was to make art more inclusive by pulling an end run on the galleries, breaking down the barriers, and bringing the art directly to the people. Like graffiti, but legal.” In 2014, Uncategorized morphed into a provocative, record-breaking solo exhibit at Pori Art Museum in Finland with its accompanying book, Chi Modu | Uncategorized Porin Art Museum Publication 130. And now, Uncategorized Press is publishing this unique tribute to Tupac Shakur.
As to why the brand is called Uncategorized, Modu says, “People always want to put art and artists into neat little boxes. My work does not fit into any one stereotype and neither do I. I wanted to create something that is the opposite of putting labels on everything and make a statement against stereotyping. I don’t see this as just an exhibit or book. I see it as a movement that can’t be stopped. Power to the people!”