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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!

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.