If the great Andy Warhol was still around today capturing the worlds biggest stars, it’s easy to imagine his work wouldn’t be far off from Gunner Stahl’s. The latter, born Johnathan Simmons, is an Atlanta born photographer who has rose to the pinnacle of his craft within the hiphop realm. To give you an idea of his track record, it would probably be easier to list celebrities that he hasn’t worked with. From the likes of Miley Cyrus to Young Thug or the late Mac Miller, Gunner has made a name for himself through distinctive portraits of mega-stars that strip them down to their raw features.
The ever-reserved Simmons put himself on to photography at the age of 18 for no purpose other than having something to do. He would bring his camera to the buzzing parties, parks and concerts of Atlanta in the late 00’s, a time of renaissance for rap music in the south. This influential wave of artists and creators would form the landscape that introduced Stahl to Atlanta heavyweights such as 21 Savage and Young Thug early in their careers. More recently within the ATL repertoire, Stahl is behind the iconic portrait of Lil Yachty flexing his grill with his hands covering his face and the recent portrait that headers Playboi Carti’s Apple Music page.
The large abundance of portraits and photos taken by Gunner have been curated in various collections & exhibitions by the artist, often titled “Portraits” with the corresponding year range. In October of last year, Stahl’s success materialized a full-circle moment when he released his first book titled “𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶”, a hard-cover portrait collection of rap’s moguls featuring a written excerpt from Swae Lee. Gunner Stahl’s portraits are in a way quite reflective of himself — simple & brief, yet strikingly interesting. Which is your #1?
All images/portraits are property of Gunner Stahl.