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A Brief History Of Jay Z's Career As Beyoncé's Private Photographer

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    Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

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    When Jay Z isn’t moonlighting as a rapper, he has a permanent residency as the world’s most sought-after Instagram Husband.

    Shawn Carter has been dropping hints about his side hustle for years. “When I was talking Instagram / Last thing you wanted was your picture snapped,” he explained in Magna Carta Holy Grail’s “Somewhere In America.”

    Indeed: Somewhere in America, Jay Z is dutifully fulfilling his role as Beyoncé’s private photographer. It’s a pretty lucrative gig.

    It's also a thankless job. There’s no wall in the MoMA dedicated to the art of documenting Beyoncé's most candid moments. They don’t give out VMAs for impromptu at home music videos. Jay is too humble to ever bring attention to his slept-on works of art, but I’m going dive deep into their history of photographer-muse #relationshipgoals.

    So here it is: An unauthorized history of Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Instagram’s unsung hero.

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    This is the earliest documented evidence of Jay Z as Beyoncé's private photographer. Before a 2013 performance on American Idol, Mr. Carter filmed Beyoncé's backstage rehearsal.

    You can see the early efforts of a budding Cassavetes: Jay is obsessed with realism and authenticity, capturing what really goes on behind the scenes. Backed up with a keyboard and and her three singers, here we get to experience Beyoncé's real, raw voice.

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    In honor of the Carters' seventh wedding anniversary (the pair were married in 2008), Beyoncé released a special Tidal-exclusive song and video.

    The hook on this stripped down song — written by Kirby Lauryen — is beautiful. "Cause darling I wake up just to sleep with you / I open my eyes so I could see with you / And I live so I can die with you," Bey sings as she plays piano.

    And oh — who's that behind the lens? None other than Jay Z himself, displaying some casual fly-on-the-wall documentary filmmaking skills.

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