How Photographer Cam Kirk Captures Atlanta’s Hip Hop Music Scene At The City’s Most Booked Creative Space
By Rachel George
I just dropped a Lamb, I just shot with Cam by rapper Evander Griiim is the latest track reference to the unofficial photographer of Atlanta’s hip hop music scene, Cam Kirk, who turned his passion for authentic photography into owning the most booked studio in the city. Kirk has worked with artists like Future, Young Thug, Lil’ Baby, Gunna, Migos, Young Thug and more, shifting the conversation around hip hop through imagery.
“I feel like it’s my duty, with every little bit of success I make off Atlanta and this culture to pay back for the next generation of kids,” he told Fuse.
Kirk is described as the quiet guy behind the camera capturing the most candid, personable moments of your favorite celebrities. He made a quick cameo in Young Thug’s “Again” video, shot during his Trap God Gucci Mane exhibit in 2015. Celebrating Gucci Mane’s legacy and his impact of our culture, Kirk turned a church in East Atlanta into a trap house featuring never before seen photos of Gucci Mane with live art installations of his trap life.
Lil Baby, Yo Gotti, and Moneyybagg Yo have all shot album artwork at Cam Kirk Studios, which is located right across the street from one of Atlanta’s iconic gentlemen’s clubs, Magic City. Since opening in 2017, the studio has become the most booked creative space in the city, rising from 10 to 300 bookings a month in the first 12 months. He’s captured rapper Gunna in his natural element vibing in the studio. He’s even shot iLoveMakonnen shoving a dog out his face and Atlanta native Young Thug happily enjoying a bowl of cereal.
The studio is filled with carefully curated photos along the halls, offering jaw-dropping music and fashion exhibits, creative talks, and studio time for local students and creatives in the community.
The staff hosts a curated playlist to highlight independent, up-and-coming artists. DTOUR, the studio’s retail space, sells books, magazines, toys, other hard-to-find collectibles, and fashion pieces, by appointment only. It also features studio merch and his apparel collaborations with other creatives including renowned designer Louis de Guzman and more recently with LA-based artists Mariella Angela and OriginalFani Neon Shooter.
The Maryland transplant moved to Atlanta in 2007 to attend Morehouse University, where he obtained a Marketing Degree. His first introduction to the music scene came from organizing a stop on Wiz Khalifa’s The Deal or No Deal Tour when he was 21 years old. His only regret was not having enough juice on his phone or a camera to document the moment.
Since then he’s toured with Rae Sremmurd and Lil Wayne, Travi$ Scott and others as their official photographer. He’s directed music videos for Migos and Young Thug and led panels at the A3C Music Conference. Some of his iconic works include his tribute billboard to the late rapper Bankroll Fre$h, who was killed outside of a recording studio in Atlanta. It was the first installment of his Day 4 photography exhibit, where he featured never before seen photos of the city’s most influential artists in Atlanta’s skyline. Other featured artists on billboards include Sonny Digital, DC Young Fly, 6lack, Lil Yachty, and Trouble.
For now, Cam Kirk is continuing to push the culture forward with twenty plus hard drives of exclusive images of Atlanta’s hip hop scene while simultaneously supporting his creative community. He plans to open another studio in the next two years.
“Atlanta’s definitely not the final destination, but I think Atlanta’s a very comfortable destination,” he said. “I’m happy here.”
For more about Cam Kirk, sign up for one of his monthly videography/ photography workshops.