Hip Hop photography was put on a pedestal at Art Basel in Miami — thanks to three talented photographers, and the “Black Beatles” Rae Sremmurd. On Dec. 2, artists, musicians, influencers, and their friends infiltrated the Nautilus Beach tent to show the world rare photos from famed photographers Cam Kirk, Places + Faces & Gunner Stahl in honor of Art Basel in Miami.
Photo fiends rushed the bar stocked with all sorts of 1800 Tequila as they admired an array of unique moments in your favorite rappers’ lives captured by young masters who have conquered the art of photography.
“I got Chance literally as he got off stage. That’s why he’s yawning in the picture,” Gunner Stahl explained outside the tent. The 24-year-old photographer was referring to his image of Chance The Rapper, which is on display next to other au-natural photos of Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Kehlani, and Lil B just to name a few.
Meanwhile, his portraits of Rae Sremmurd, YG, Tyga and more hung on the other side of the wall. Adjacent to his display, the “Eye of Atlanta” Cam Kirk set up his one-of-a-kind photos of a few major artists — including none other than Gucci Mane. Cameron Kirkland has numerous photos of ATL’s finest: Andre 3000, Future, Young Thug, and others in portraits of all sizes.
“It’s a blessing and a honor to be here on this platform and see all these beautiful people come out,” Kirk said at the entrance of the tent. “It’s something I’m so grateful for. I’m still at a loss of words.”
On the flipside of the wall, he has a unique display of Gucci Mane from before he went to jail and several days after he was released. At the moment, Guwop’s go-to photographer is on the road with the Woptober rapper and documents his shows, appearances, and basically everything else in between his day-to-day schedule. Kirk feels more than blessed to be in his position at this pivotal time during his recent historical turning point of La Flare’s career
“Having access to Gucci and being around is probably one of the gems of my career,” Kirk said. “It’s something that I’m most grateful for because he’s someone that doesn’t allow much access to him. It’s dope that I’m able to document his important and historical time when his career has taken a 180 turn from where it could’ve went and it’s going through the roof. It’s bananas. His spirit is just infectious, inspiring and motivating just based on how happy he is and how hard-working he is.”
Places + Faces also posted up at the end of the pop-up gallery with rare photos of Young Thug and Kanye West, who was actually caught smiling. The London-based photographers have dominated the Internet with their outlandish images from concerts, parties, and pop-up shops from The UK to the United States. Imran Ciesay of Places + Faces had several of his classic images on display, which he claims no one else can recreate. Amongst the collection of extraordinary snapshots, Ciesay says his infamous portraits of Yeezus, Skepta, and Travis Scott in Paris are his favorite photos in the bunch.
“It’s because of the layout,” Ciesay said. “It could’ve been anyone but it’s Travis Scott in Paris on a roof and in the background you can see the Eiffel Tower and the Hall Of Paris. I feel like that picture can’t be recreated or reshot. That’s a classic. That’s like Jay Z in London in a benz when he’s 19-years-old.”
After the event came to a close, Rae Sremmurd came through to turn up for the official after party at Up & Down. Swae Lee and Slim Jimmi rolled up to the party with Mike Will Made-It while they rocked out with other artists like Sonny Digital and performed their major records like “Black Beatles.” Although they came through to party, they also took the time to appreciate all of the art in the tent.
“The photographer, in this day and age in music, is honestly almost equivalent to a DJ,” Swae Lee said. “Nowadays, music is being consumed visually and audibly. There are people who have favorite rappers because they love the way they look, the image, the style, the vision. That’s something that me as a photographer feeds to the public, the same way you have people that love the artist’s music and the DJ is the one that feeds that to the public.”
Check out the exclusive photos from the event plus a visual recap of Rae Sremmurd’s performance below.