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Atlanta: Hip-Hop and the South

Photographs by Michael Schmelling
October 12, 2012

On Friday, October 12th JSG will host the exhibition, “Atlanta: Hip-Hop and the South” featuring photographs by Michael Schmelling for one-night only at Space2 beside Sound Table at 438 Edgewood Avenue from 7 to 10 PM. Cocktails, small bites and DJ Apple Jac will make this an evening you don’t want to miss!

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From 2007 to 2009, Michael Schmelling made several extended trips to Atlanta to document the city’s renowned hip-hop scene. Schmelling uses this fertile center of popular culture as the backdrop. From off-the-map teen clubs, to bedroom studios, to Northside mansions, Schmelling traversed the eclectic world of Atlanta hip-hop, documenting the scene from the ground up. The resulting photographs evoke the spirit and singularity of the city’s hip-hop scene, capturing everything from cars and hot dogs to pay phones and gold chains, to up-and-coming rappers to strippers and multi-platinum artists. Each character and each piece are part of a larger narrative that explores music, technology, economics, and American popular culture.

Schmelling has spent the past twelve years working on a series of extended photo projects, many of which have become books: Shut Up Truth (J+L Books, 2002), The Wilco Book (Picturebox, 2004), The Week Of No Computer (TV Books, 2008), and The Plan (J+L Books, 2010). Copies of his latest book, Atlanta will be available for sell during the exhibition. In this book, Schmelling approaches the mainstream subject of hip-hop with a thoughtfully oblique perspective. This approach to documentary photography runs throughout much of his work—projects that are rich in detail, but also full of unexpected cues, diversions, and second takes.