Rap's favorite photographer is its most trusted insider, Gunner Stahl, a diffident 23-year-old from Atlanta who could easily pass for a high school student. Over the past couple of years, Gunner's behind-the-scenes photography of the rap scenes in Atlanta and beyond has emerged as a growing, indelible document of this moment in time and culture; earlier in the year, he shot scenes for Metro Boomin and Gucci Mane's respective FADER cover stories.
The FADER spent a recent summer day following Gunner around his city for a documentary that features appearances by Lil Yachty, TheGoodPerry, Key!, and others. In the film, Gunner explains the appeal of his casual, candid photography — shot exclusively on film. "You can't get more raw than an unstaged film photo. It's impossible," he says.
When he turned 18, Gunner picked up a camera and set about teaching himself how to shoot by chronicling every day life — taking pictures at school and at parties, parks, and concerts. Then he began hanging out in studios with his friends, snapping photos while they fiddled with knobs and embedding himself like a reporter of sorts. Years later, he still begins most days with a visit to the studio. "I like just being basically like a fly on the wall, just chilling and take pictures," he says. "They just do whatever they do, and I just do whatever I do."