Photographer Gunner Stahl has captured all your favorite rappers on camera, from Gucci Mane to Mac Miller and more. His is truly a story of luck, perhaps best described by Oprah Winfrey — and before that, Roman philosopher Seneca — as the moment(s) "when preparation meets opportunity."
Born and raised in Atlanta, 27-year-old Stahl began several years ago taking candid photos of his friends, who happened to be then-unknown or up-and-coming rappers. (One of them was Swae Lee, whom he drove to hometown Mississippi gigs with.) Now that Stahl and his friends have become more successful, these moments, partially inspired by his rise to an elevated hip-hop star lifestyle, are memorialized in a new book, called Portraits.
During Red Bull Music Festival's 2019 Atlanta edition, Stahl presented a show in a platinum-colored warehouse featuring a curated range of blown-up portraits from the book. From A$AP Rocky and Drake to Billie Eilish and 21 Savage, all are now part of Stahl's expanding circle of celebrated friends.
And while Stahl's rolodex has grown more enviable, his profile hasn't tainted his ability to freeze intimate moments with some of the hip-hop's most elite names. These rare moments were on display, like Lil Uzi Vert hanging out with a tiny monkey, or the A$AP Mob crew paying tribute to the life of their manager A$AP Yams, who died in 2015. There were photos immortalizing the last moments of the aforementioned Miller and Nipsey Hussle.
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Stahl's photos make emotional connections with viewers, capturing his subjects' vulnerability and strength through eye contact and honest smiles, and their individual sense of rhythm through free-flowing movement. They provide a unique inside view into a lifestyle that few will ever know firsthand, but no one feels left out — a point sure to please fans of Stahl and his famous subjects alike.
Below, a selection of images from Gunner Stahl's Portraits.
Photography: Gunner Stahl