Tyler Mitchell Confirmed as First Black Photographer to Shoot Vogue Cover, Beyonce Releases Images

Tyler Mitchell Confirmed as First Black Photographer to Shoot Vogue Cover, Beyonce Releases Images

Tyler Mitchell has officially been confirmed as the first black photographer to ever shoot a Vogue cover. At just 23 years old, he’s also one of the youngest to ever have the prestige. So what’s the verdict on his September cover with Beyonce Knowles?

Taking to Instagram, Knowles posted a number of the images from the spread, including two different covers. At the time of writing, photographer Mitchell was not tagged or credited in the posts, although it is widely reported that Knowles played a large part in bringing Mitchell on board for the shoot. There was initial confusion over the process of selecting a photographer, but Mitchell himself has since shared an article which reveals Knowles selected him from a shortlist compiled by Vogue.

In the accompanying interview, Knowles speaks of how she wished to “break down barriers for people of different backgrounds in the fashion industry and beyond.”

In shooting the cover, he has equaled David Bailey, who was also 23 when he shot his first Vogue cover. The shoot took place in the UK, just outside London, in the grounds of an English country house.

Reflecting on his body of work, Mitchell said: “For so long, black people have been considered things. We’ve been thingified physically, sexually, emotionally. With my work I’m looking to revitalize and elevate the black body.”


“It’s funny because I’m pretty sure she headlined the first concert I ever went to, when I was maybe eight or nine, so you could say we met in a past life," he told Vogue.

Lead image by EVG photos via Pexels.

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ron fya's picture

I don't really know what to think about this "natural" current trend in photography. Espescially about lighting and using set & props too casually when staging scenes. Not in a technical sense (it doesn't matter) but about how it makes one feel. Because to me, it feels so casual, so " whatever the lighting is, it will be fine", so "let's do this ABOUT like this and it's going to be fine anyway". Because today's trends focus is nearly exclusively on how real the subjects are. And this excludes mind adventures in great beautiful imaginary worlds you can fantasize about. I like photography/cinematography that project you in a different world than the "boring" one we live in. And this "natural/casual" trend does not do that. Even more so when it's so "natural/casual" that it feels sloppy. Like they didn't care about setting the scene for a proper photo. Just an "about like that". Again, nothing about being technical, but I need to feel the artist took care of his work to create a world you would be happy to escape in. To me, this trend feels careless about the audience, not real/natural/casual. Glad for a young guy like Mitchell to get the job. I just don't get this style that look too much like snapshots (even though I understand it's a reaction to many years of "perfect" photography, but I'm not talking about that either).

Ryan Cooper's picture

I agree, not a huge fan of the style at all. Feels like heavily styled snapshots to me.

Ian Smith's picture

Same. It's likely I just don't "get it," but technically speaking, the apparel designer seems like the only thing of interest in these shots. Honestly, I would have passed these images as warm-ups for the photographer to get his/her settings dialed in. : /

Andrew Ashley's picture

They are quite raw, but well executed and lovely shots. Good for you Tyler!

LA M's picture

I like the work...who cares what color he is...just go get it.

Jack Alexander's picture

The issue with his skin color stems from Vogue never having had a black photographer in its 126-year history. That's why people care.

LA M's picture

Ya good luck with that...this will be long forgotten in no time flat.

Jack Alexander's picture

I hope not!

Sharonda Harris-Marshall's picture

It matters to us minority shooters, who are constantly reminded just how white the photography world is.

mlittle's picture

What does that actually mean? I'm curious how you are reminded. I wonder how you would feel if I or someone else said the same thing... "I am constantly reminded just how black Chicago is"? Can you see just how offensive your comment is? Assuming you are African American, why do you feel you have the right to make an off-handed, offensive comment about another race (based solely on race)? That somehow it's now ok to make offensive comments about white people???? Not one single person on here made any negative comments about African Americans yet you feel it was necessary to make an offensive comment about white people.

mlittle's picture

That's usually the response from liberals when you don't agree with them. Racist, bigot, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. You left a whole bunch out.

LA M's picture

Hey...Sharonda...I'm one of those "minorities" you speak of.

Kirk Darling's picture

I would have preferred to have seen one of the fine black men and woman who have been photographing for Essence or Ebony and such for decades get their due.

Eric Salas's picture

I’m one of these “minority photographers” myself my definition but I’ll be damned if my work sees the light of day and I allow the color of my skin to receive more credit than the work I produced.

Who cares if I’m brown, my camera sure as hell doesn’t and my client is whatever color white balance I choose...

Ken Hunt's picture

Agree who cares what ethnicity he is. The impressive thing is that he is 23 years old!

LA M's picture

Get over it?

Bruh...I forgot all about it AND the cover until this notification.

Joshua Kolsky's picture

Beyonce seems to be going full Miley Cyrus. Never go full Miley Cyrus

Kirk Darling's picture

Not sure what that means, but it's probably true.

Except that now that Beyonce has done it, it has to be changed to "going full Beyonce."


Marcus Phoenix's picture

Looks meh.

Eric Salas's picture

I agree. The photos are meh and if he had not had connections deeper than the ocean he'd be taking photos of stuffed animals for a community college class. Unfortunately people like the Catch Me Outside girl exist and talent doesn't matter, endorsements do.

michael buehrle's picture

my take on this is because he is black. not because he is good. race plays nothing into if you are good or not. i am sure that there are magazines across the globe that only have one race shoot for them. i doubt there are magazines in the middle east that allow women to shoot for then. the first step to solving the race issue is to not make everything a race issue.

michael buehrle's picture

looks like you have a negative comment for anyone that doesn't match your opinion. again making everything about race doesn't help.

michael buehrle's picture

can't do anything about the past. just can change the future. does not do anyone any good to live in the past.

andy greenwell's picture

They're just snapshots to me. No big deal. Anyone can do that.