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Gunner Stahl didn’t grow up on photography. Surprisingly, he says he only began seeing photography as something he truly wanted to do five years ago, which was when Stahl started building a cult following off his candid portraits of rappers like Wiz Khalifa and ASAP Rocky. Today, it’s hard to imagine what modern hip-hop imagery would look like without the 27-year-old photographer; whose film photos have intimately captured a generation of artists in a way that parallels Chi Modu’s work in the ‘90s, which included classic shots of artists such as Biggie, Tupac, and Puffy. Like Modu, Stahl’s photos are no frills and give us a personal look at some of the most influential artists of our time. Whether it’s an image of Solange holding a rattlesnake before walking into the Met Gala or Lil Uzi Vert finishing off a popsicle. So what has informed Stahl's shutter skills over the years? It isn’t what you’d expect. 

 “All of my inspiration was just from shit that I would see and be like: 'Oh, this is tight as hell,'” says Stahl, when explaining how figures like Bam Margera and Michael Cera inspired him over the phone. "I'm not going to lie, when I was a kid, I ain't have no guidance. It wasn't like, 'I want to go to this college' or 'I want to be this.' I was at home watching TV.” 

Although Stahl’s name is as well known as the very rappers he’s photographed, he was working retail at a Dick’s Sporting Goods less than five years ago. Today, he has published coffee table books filled with his portraits, shot the iconic cover of Playboi Carti’s debut album and “@MEH” single, and has photographed Metro Boomin and The Internet for The Fader magazine covers. When going through his inspirations, it’s clear that Stahl isn’t a great photographer because of the camera or film he’s using. It’s a culmination of things that have built his charismatic persona.  While currently quarantined at his home in Atlanta, we asked Stahl to run us through his greatest inspirations and how they informed the person he is today.