Tyler Mitchell

United States

World-renowned photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell became part of the cultural lexicon in 2018 thanks to that Beyoncé shoot, earning him his place in history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of American Vogue. Since then he’s worked with the likes of Vanity Fair, Comme des Garçons, Prada, and Apple; as well as featuring on panels and honors lists across the globe. We spoke to Tyler in 2019 ahead of his first solo exhibition “I Can Make You Feel Good” at the Fotografiemuseum (Foam) in Amsterdam which explores Black boyhood on the brink of blossoming into manhood. Featuring snapshots from his commercial editorial work and a short film titled “Idyllic Space” which explores play, love, and freedom in a Black universe, the series honors Blackness not as an exotic or rarified commodity but in the beauty of mundane, familiar occurrences. Tyler grew up in Marietta, Georgia, a setting that informs a great deal of his work, and his first experiences of photography came from scrolling through sites like Tumblr. He formally started taking pictures while studying at New York University, cherry picking elements of street, documentary, and fashion photography to create the kinds of images and videos he wanted to see. In 2015 he self-published the book “El Paquete,” shot during a six-week trip to Cuba, and by the time he graduated in 2017 he was shooting for fashion magazines like Dazed and i-D. In 2018 Tyler collaborated with Solange on “Metatronia,” a performance piece presented at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. That same year his work caught the attention of American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, resulting in his Beyoncé-shaped, history-making assignment.

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It’s always been about the person in the picture, my relationship to the person and always has a social undertone.