Photos by Cam Kirk
It’s no coincidence Cam Kirk’s Trap God exhibition opens just six days after the 10th anniversary of Gucci Mane’s debut studio album, Trap House. Admittedly, Cam wasn’t keeping track of the album’s anniversary—it’s today by the way—when he started planning his new photo exhibit, but things just have a way of working out for the Atlanta-based photographer.
Trap God promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime immersive experience—a 6-hour pop-up exhibit at a small church in East Atlanta Zone 6 featuring never-before-seen photos of Gucci Mane from Cam Kirk, as well as a few surprises in the form of an interactive performance Cam likens to a haunted house.
Earlier this week, we chopped up with Cam at the office about his Trap God exhibit and how it all came together serendipitously.
Mass Appeal: So, what have you been up to fam?
Cam Kirk: Man just trying to really recoup off the Rodeo Tour. I know had to do something big following that tour; it was so crazy. It was just so inspiring just being in different cities and people know who I was. It was weird to me. It made me feel like, ‘Man, I’ve got to keep going. I’ve got an opportunity to do something even bigger.’ It kinda inspired this whole little movement with this exhibit I’m trying to do.
So, it’s in a church?
Yeah, I got an abandoned church. In Atlanta, they have a lot of small churches, literally in the middle of the hood. So, I found one of those; well, actually a friend of mine, I guess he bought it and is renovating it into a house. One side of it is still has all the church elements; so it has pews, altars, a bunch of pianos—that whole setup. And if you go through the doors it’s like kitchen, couches, bedrooms—everything. So it kinda has the best of both worlds, in terms of “Trap God.”
I didn’t want to [have this exhibit] a typical gallery because I feel like that might be boring . I wanted to do something bigger and better, and bring the pictures to life, bring the feeling to life. Man, it’s gonna be crazy. Just mixing both worlds together.
It’s going to be more of an installation…it’s not going to be strictly about my photography. I’ve got actors in there; they’re going to play certain roles when you walk in. So it’s going to take shape of like a haunted house feeling, where you walk in and there are different things to experience. It should feel like you literally walked in to the house of the Trap God.
How long have you been working on it?
I’ve been working on it for about a month now. I’ve been sitting on these pictures of Gucci since I first started taking photos. He’s one of the first artists I got to work with.
What year did you start shooting him?
I didn’t start shooting photos until probably 2012. I did some video work before then, but 2012 was the year I really started to get things going. The first artist that let me shoot for him, the most consistent, was Young Scooter. I travelled with Scooter a lot during his whole run, and that’s kind of how I got around Gucci and was able to [get on] close terms with and actually take some photos of him. That was so early in my career that photography wasn’t even a focus for me. I was really doing more video blogs and stuff like that, so it was cool that I actually got some dope photos of Gucci. But I never put them out, I never really knew what to do with them. I knew I just wanted to hold them for something worthwhile—because that’s Gucci Mane. Now he’s become such a bigger icon than when I first was around him, so I’m happy I was able to save something big. I thought I was going to do a book, but I don’t think I want to do that. This [exhibit] is the best way to bring these photos to life.
So who else is involved with the show?
I partnered with LRG for the show. I wanted to stick with a brand that [Gucci] was familiar with, that he worked with. More importantly, I wanted to make sure I didn’t align his brand with somebody he didn’t have affiliations with, and I know him and LRG have a close working relationship. I feel like this was the best fit. I don’t want this to be an exploitation of Gucci. The event’s free—it costs you not-a-penny to come in. I didn’t want to align myself with a company that was looking for a return. I wanted to get a company that understands the vision, understands who Gucci is and what he represents to the culture, and was trying to do something cool for the culture. LRG was the perfect fit for that. They’re not trying to do a T-shirt or sell you something when you get in there—they put up some bread strictly to celebrate the legacy of Gucci. I wanted to make sure I stick with brands that saw that vision.
This whole event literally came together so smooth. Soon as I got the vision, I was able to execute or put things in place pretty fast, so that’s how I know it was meant for this stuff to happen. The only hiccup I had was the first trap house I had…I originally had another trap house—it was strictly a trap house—in East Atlanta. I was super excited about it, and a couple of days before I was going to announce [the event], the house got raided. But, it was a real trap house. That was as authentic as it could get. I wasn’t happy that [the raid] happened. But I’m thankful that I was able to find [a location] that actually takes the vision to even another level.
Cam Kirk’s Trap God exhibit opens May 30 in Atlanta (RSVP info below).
We hit Cam up afterwards about his favorite song from Trap House, in honor of the album’s 10-year anniversary.
My favorite song off Trap House to this day would still have to be “So Icy.” I know it sounds like the typical answer, but that was the song that first introduced me to Gucci Mane coming from Maryland. When I moved to Atlanta in 2007, it still was one of the most played songs at all the college parties. This song represents the beginning of a legendary and controversial career. It’s his biggest introduction to the industry, as well as the root of his issues with Jeezy that shaped his career.
Photo of Cam by Omar Ahmad