Rising up in the 1990s and early 2000s, photographer Adrienne Raquel remembers the era of the online video vixen nicely. Hip Hop honeys like Melyssa Ford, Karrine Steffans, Buffie the Entire body, Bria Myles, Gloria Velez, Esther Baxter, and Rosa Acosta were being like lyrics of Wu Tang Clan’s “Ice Cream” arrive to existence. Reworking eye candy into a high-quality art, every single vixen possessed her personal innate design and physicality, and grew to become icons of femininity and stars in their have correct.

Raquel came of age at a time when analogue and digital engineering to start with converged. “I grew up in a Black household in which at each and every instant we have been tapped into the tradition,” she claims. “Both of my dad and mom liked songs, film, and Tv set. I grew up feeding into all of it. My dad made use of to bring dwelling magazines like Jet, Ebony, Vibe, XXL, and The Source. I would seem through individuals journals, tear out these astounding adverts for Rocawear and Infant Phat, and scan them into our personal computer to create my possess graphic art.” 

On the cusp of adolescence, Raquel watched songs movies with older cousins, gazing on the vixens in awe. “What drew me to them as a boy or girl and even now at 30, is that these girls ended up crème de la crème, recognised as the superstars in their personal proper,” she states, “I was an only kid, tremendous introverted, extremely shy, a late bloomer, and very sheltered. These ladies had self confidence in their sensuality, a sense of electricity and allure that is a thing I constantly required to have – irrespective of whether developing up, as a teen, or now as a younger girl.”

Although Raquel is a self-explained “wallflower,” she’s readily in the combine photographing Travis Scott, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Selena Gomez, fashion, and attractiveness for T Journal, Self-importance Reasonable, CR Manner E-book, Dior, and Pat McGrath Labs. Not long ago highlighted in Antwaun Sargent’s landmark e book in The New Black Vanguard: Images Involving Art and Vogue (Aperture), Raquel now usually takes centre stage with ONYX, her to start with solo museum exhibition, on April 22 at Fotografiska New York.

As a teen, Raquel moved to Houston and went to higher education there, creating her vision as a photographer in H-Town. For yrs, she dreamed of photographing the dancers at Club Onyx, Houston’s most famous strip club, memorialised in tunes by Drake, Travis Scott, and Megan Thee Stallion. “I was like, I want to go!” she remembers. “If you have by no means been to a strip club, it can be a bit jarring. You have these women strolling all over, the males, the revenue – it is a great deal to get used to. At the time I bought further than the preliminary allure, I commenced to spend focus to the dancers, their dynamics, and how they connect with one particular a further from throughout the area. I explained to myself, One working day when I make it I’m heading to occur back again and document this – and here we are in 2021.”

Roman philosopher Seneca wisely noticed, “Luck is what comes about when planning fulfills possibility,” and Raquel embodies this mantra. When requested what work she may possibly like to create for an exhibition at Fotografiska, the young photographer recalls, “I was so ready and threw it out there with no hesitancy. I was like, The Strip Cluuuub!” Below, Raquel requires us inside a mythic area, a world in which ladies reign supreme, and shares the tales powering the photographs that she manufactured.

Adrienne Raquel: ONYX is on watch at Fotografiska New York by means of September 2021