B+ (photographer)

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Brian Cross

Limerick, Ireland
Occupation(s)Photographer, filmmaker

Brian Cross (born in 1966), better known as B+ (sometimes stylized as B Plus), is an Irish photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California.[1] He is a co-founder of Mochilla, a film and music production company.[1] He predominantly photographed the Los Angeles' hip hop scene in the 1990s as well as helped create album art for a number of artists including Q-Tip, Eazy-E, Damian Marley, DJ Shadow, and J Dilla.[2]


Brian Cross was born and raised in Limerick, Ireland.[3] He became infatuated with hip hop upon hearing Schoolly D and Public Enemy in the late 1980s.[4] In 1989, he earned a degree in painting from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.[4] He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1990 to attend the California Institute of the Arts.[5] He quickly became entranced by Los Angeles' underground hip hop scene.[3]

In 1993, he published It's Not About a Salary: Rap, Race and Resistance in Los Angeles, which was a book of essays, interviews, and photography.[3] It featured conversations with and photographs of The Watts Prophets, Toddy Tee, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, and Freestyle Fellowship.[4] In 2014, he was listed on Complex's "15 Rap Photographers Every Rap Fan Should Know" list.[2]

In 2017, he published Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed, which featured the faces of artists such as J Dilla, Brian Wilson, Leon Ware, George Clinton, and The Notorious B.I.G.[5]

In 2018 several early hip hop images by Cross were published in Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, by Vikki Tobak. In April 2019, the book was transformed into a full-size museum exhibit at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. In the months before and during the exhibition Cross served on several group discussion and lecture panels regarding the show.[6] His images in the book and exhibit feature artists Goodie Mobb and Ol' Dirty Bastard. In the book, as referenced in a review published by The New Yorker in November 2018, Cross recollected how timid Ol' Dirty Bastard was when asked by Cross to place his hands over the bare breasts of a model for the photograph, an obvious parody of Janet Jackson's controversial September 16, 1993 Rolling Stone cover.[7][8][9]



  1. ^ a b Palermo, Tomas (June 1, 2011). "Mochilla's B Plus on Endtroducing, J-Dilla, and the Last Ten Years of Hip-Hop Photography". SF Weekly. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Cheng, Susan (October 9, 2014). "15 Rap Photographers Every Rap Fan Should Know: B+". Complex. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Hsu, Hua (December 26, 2017). "The World of Music Stardom, Through the Eyes of the Photographer B+". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Bell, Max (January 20, 2018). "No One Sees Rap Like Photographer Brian Cross". Noisey. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Weiss, Layne (November 28, 2017). "Brian "B+" Cross's Photos Go Beyond Hip-Hop to Capture the Roots of a Whole Culture". LA Weekly. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Contact High: A visual history of hip-hop". USC Event Calendar.
  7. ^ "Brian "B+" Cross". Annenberg Space for Photography.
  8. ^ "Controversial magazine covers". nydailynews.com.
  9. ^ Hsu, Hua (1 November 2018). "How Hip-Hop Learned to Pose for the Camera" – via www.newyorker.com.

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