#GramGen is a series profiling the most radical characters in youth culture, who continue to shape trend behavior and spark controversy through their avant fashion sense and candid social media personalities.
While Gunner Stahl now describes “home” as a variety of hotels and TSAs with his busy work schedule, it’s his hometown of Atlanta that he credits for leading him to a career in music and photography. Growing up in the city that produces some of the biggest names in hip-hop, the young photographer says doing something that involved music was "inevitable."
As Gunner’s first subjects were friends who were rappers back home, it seems only natural that his career would center around his ability to take intimate portraits of the most well known artists out there. From Young Thug to Lil Uzi Vert, Gunner explains that he’s now at a point where he can work off of the relationships he’s built with these big names over the course of his career, making the portraits he captures of them all the more personal.
Whether Gunner's sharing his work online with his 288K Instagram followers or in person at his recent photo exhibit in New York (which got so packed that it was shut down by NYPD within the first hour), his exploration of music and the people behind it is never-ending. However, at just 25-years-old, Gunner has shot nearly every top rapper in the game, including one of our covers featuring Gucci Mane and Playboi Carti, and he's ready to explore other areas within his craft. With his most recent project, a capsule collection of headwear with PUMA, Gunner's definitely moving in a new direction, and with that, he hopes to continue toward the next challenge in his career -- conquering the fashion world through his lens.
We caught up with Gunner to chat more about his capsule with PUMA, his personal key to success, and his aspirations to move toward fashion.
How old are you?
What’s your occupation?
Where are you from, and where are you currently living?
I’m from Atlanta. I live in TSA and different hotels.
Do you think growing up in Atlanta has influenced your work? If so, how?
Of course. I grew up in the music capital of the world. It was inevitable for me to do something in music.
What first drew you to photography and working mainly within the music realm?
My friends. They rapped. I used a camera. It just happened.
You’ve become the go-to photographer for some of the biggest rappers out there — who is your favorite to work with and why?
Metro Boomin, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi, Yachty, Sremm + Mike, XO. I work mainly off relationships now.
You recently teamed up with PUMA to create a capsule collection of headwear for FW17 — how did this partnership come about?
They reached out. It felt right. I felt at home.
The first drop of the capsule is titled “For You, Mom,” — can you tell us a little about the inspiration for this one?
For breast cancer month. I honored my mother who passed from breast cancer. She was my everything.
Following your PUMA collab, what’s next for you in the fashion world? Do you hope to work more closely with fashion brands moving forward?
I want to shoot fashion. I want to do campaigns worldwide. I want to be front row at fashion week.
Portraits mean more. More intimate. More personal.
Speaking of portraits, you’re celebrating the release of your PUMA collab with a portrait exhibit in New York — what’s it like getting to share your work with people in real life, as opposed to on social media?
It’s amazing. I love displaying work. Especially unseen work.
What are the pluses and minuses of using a social outlet like Instagram to share your photography?
There are no minuses at all.
The key to success is:
Be yourself forever. Stay true to what you wanna do. Don’t give up.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
I can’t tell you. I don't know what’s going on tomorrow honestly.
Catch the second drop of Gunner’s collaboration with PUMA Nov 4 at ComplexCon.
And next, check out why streetwear culture is obsessed with Anime.