In Rae Sremmurd's eerie banger “Real Chill,” off 2016's SremmLife 2, Slim Jxmmi raps, “Can a n---a hold a Cam like Kirk?” He means Cam Kirk, the photographer behind the SremmLife 2 artwork, who has snapped striking portraits of mainstream trap stars, including Young Thug laughing over a bowl of Corn Pops, for years. A past exhibit was based on his cover for Gucci Mane's Trap House III mixtape, while his Slaughter King art helped introduced 21 Savage as an intimidating new rap voice. Jxmmi's question was meant to be hypothetical, of course -- a high compliment. Yet lately, Kirk has been keenly interested in mentoring the next Cam Kirk.
Last July, Kirk opened Cam Kirk Studios in a downtown Atlanta office suite across the street from strip club and hip-hop fixture Magic City. He wasn't satisfied with editing photos out of whatever recording studio producer friend Mike WiLL Made-It booked on any given night, but Cam Kirk Studios is now part office, part photography studio, part art gallery -- with its rotating art and his own Gucci Mane portrait on the walls -- and really, part training ground.
Between shoots for clients like Nike, Adidas and Yo Gotti, Kirk invites novice photographers to book an hour for free. Learning how to shoot takes time, and Kirk allows for that; staff will even guide them through and pose for a shoot, all for the sake of learning.