Often referred to as the “Queen of Pop”, Madonna Louise Ciccone better known as Madonna, is one of those celebrities whom you don’t need to introduce because everyone already knows her. The famous American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman has captured millions of hearts, pushed the boundaries of songwriting in mainstream popular music and released many successful albums such as Like a Virgin (1984), True Blue (1986) and Grammy Award winners Ray Of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Her songs like “Like a Virgin”, “La Isla Bonita”, “Vogue”, “Music”, “Like a Prayer”, “Take a Bow”, “Frozen”, “Music”, “4 Minutes” have reached the top of record charts worldwide.

Throughout her career, Madonna achieved so many things and her works have been praised by many music critics. She has also sparked controversy but still inspired and influenced many other artists. What’s even more impressive is that the now 61-year-old artist is present in the music industry more than ever, creating hit songs and surprising crowds with her amazing performances. But have you ever imagined what she was like before all the fame and before she was a pop music icon?

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Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

“Early in May of 1983, I got a call from my mother, Cis Corman. She was casting Martin Scorcese’s new film “The Last Temptation of Christ” and said she’d just auditioned a woman I really had to photograph. “She’s an original! I’ve never met anyone like her!” I was just beginning my career, and I was always looking for charismatic subjects so I agreed. The woman was Madonna, and the part she’d auditioned for was Mary Magdalene. She did not get the role, but my encounter with Madonna and the rhythmic surge of life in New York City’s Lower East Side in the early ’80s continues to inspire me” – said Richard Corman about his first encounter with Madonna to Bored Panda.

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

In 1983, professional photographer Richard Corman didn’t know how famous Madonna was about to become. Nor did Madonna (or at least how big she was going to be). Little did anyone know but when they met in New York, Corman found her to be a fascinating and worthwhile subject for his portraiture photography. “She was unlike anyone I had met prior and had a fearless sense of determination that I so respected!  She was amazing as she was trying to establish herself, and was very much a part of a movement of creativity where the more you pushed, the more it yielded – and there were so many young artists all pushing at once” – remembered the photographer.  At that time, Madonna was just a 24-year-old young woman who wanted to become successful and change the world with her art. In his later published photography book “Madonna NYC 83”, he shows the music icon at the beginning of her long musical journey, just months before she rose to fame with her eponymous album.

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Most of these photographs are black and white and feature an enigmatic, sexy, edgy and confident Madonna. On the old streets of New York, her gaze is fixed directly at the camera, almost seeing through it. Her charming and powerful energy beams brightly in Corman’s twin-lens Rolleiflex portraits. She’s wearing studded cuffs, double denim, her neck is wrapped in white pearls and her lips are painted red which later became her signature look.

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

The then 29-year-old Richard Corman later became a famous photographer whose subjects include musicians, actors, artists, athletes, writers, and others. He has taken portraits of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton, Robert De Niro, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Ellie Wiesel and many more. But still, to this day, his most famous series is “Madonna NYC 83” which released 30 years after and is more relevant to this day than before. “The energy that pushed back then, that Madonna represented so well, is alive today with renewed vigor as this creative carnival that is NYC remains as exciting to me as ever!”

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman

Image credits: Richard Corman