“I went to my friend Edon’s house and he had a scanner so I started scanning the images and he’s younger than I am and is a total hip hop head. He started looking over my shoulder and was like ‘wait, do you even understand what you have? Are you crazy?’ To me it was just the norm,” laughs Bronx-native photographer Lisa Leone.

She’s in the midst of turning some of the photos she took of artists like Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Nas and Grand Master Flash into a book about the music and dance scene she became part of in the 80s and 90s. “Back in those days nobody had cameras, you know, no one had camera phones. It was much simpler and it just felt more raw.”

“I went to the High School of Art and Design, which was really the high school of graffiti and break dancing in the 80s. And all of the graffiti writers and break dancers that were at art and design with me are now famous for doing their thing,” explains Bronx-native photographer Lisa Leone.

Leone has been involved in photography since a very young age when her uncle set up a makeshift darkroom in his house. “I remember the first time seeing an image appear in developer,” she smiles. Since then imagery has been her main focus whether it is through photography or on a film set.

“I kind of put this work aside for 25 years. I started to direct and becoming a cinematographer and everyone kept saying ‘come on, where’s all your photos from back in the day. We want to see them’,” says Leone, noting that she at the time didn’t know she was documenting more than an artists; but also a time, a movement and a community.

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