Visualizing Rap with Gunner Stahl at the RedBull Music Festival
You walk past the curtains of 874 Joseph E. Lowery NW into a dimly lit room full of life. Your eyes immediately fixate on a gigantic portrait of Playboi Carti crouching down with horns protruding from his forehead. You’ve officially entered into the latest exhibition of the hottest Atlanta hip hop photographer, Gunner Stahl. Accompanying the release of his third photo album book, I Have So Much To Tell You, RedBull gives Stahl to chance to celebrate his latest works in the heart of his home city.
As you walk through the exhibit, you could easily ask yourself, “How does he manage to keep the diamonds on the chains dancing even while taking still shots?” “How does he manage to capture photos that literally entails full personas and alter egos without even trying?” “What kind of camera does he use so that he gets the most crystal clear pixelation?” It wouldn’t be surprising that if you were to ask him, he probably wouldn't be too keen on giving away his special sauce that goes into making his craft stand out. Nevertheless, you still have no choice but to admire the obvious precision and attention to detail that comes with every click of his camera.
While skeptics still tend to have the ignorant perception that rap is just grimy and unpolished, with “I Have So Much To Tell You”, Stahl has shown to have the ability to bring pure opulence out of even the most ratchet entertainers. By featuring the familiar faces of Carti, Thugger, Uzi, Metro Boomin, Nipsey, and more, Stahl takes photography up to a scale that goes from capturing moments to capturing stars as live artwork.
The message that Stahl conveys through his work is pretty clear: rap is not just a sound, it’s a culture. Stahl does rap culture positive justice throughout the exhibition by capturing the features that stand out the most. The colorful dollars, the gleaming grills, the distinctive tattoos; going deeper than the “money, power, respect” mantra that is usually attached to rap, Stahl travels far and wide with celebrities to capture them in some of their most raw moments. Whether that moment is fresh off the stage, in the studio, in the dressing room, on the road, or even back in their hometown.
Though Gunner doesn’t necessarily need words to express his adventures, he lets his exhibition speak like a return home from an exciting vacation and he just couldn’t wait to tell us about where he’s been and who and what he’s seen. And you best believe we are ready to hear (and see) where his camera takes him next.
To see more from the exhibit, be sure to check out our recap video here.