Times have changed alot. And also not at all. Never one to shy away from experimentation, M.I.A. recently released her fifth album, AIM with a nod to the cultural legacy that informed that debut album Arular — black and brown lives, identity, political power and transcendence. How to translate that into an image? Photographer Mike Schreiber was called into action to shoot M.I.A. for the cover of URB magazine in 2005 for that debut album. On a rooftop in Williamsburg, he found a kindred spirit in M.I.A. in placing equal importance on the photography as well as the music.
Schreiber comes off as that very New York combination of charm, aloofness and sharp sense of humor. He can, and does, talk just about anything and everything from dog parks to Five Percenters to the Angola Prison Rodeo, which just happens to be one of his many photographic subjects. There’s a “just hanging out” vibe to Schreiber’s work and this photo specifically and that’s largely because that’s exactly what was happening. No to say that there wasn’t some serious critical interpretation of the world. these images were shot for magazine spreads—the most unnatural settings. Schreiber began photographing hip-hop musicians because their shows were the easiest to gain access to in the 1990s. The subculture became his project. He’s humble and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He has a wonderful sense of humor that also translates to his photographs.