We’re still reveling in the greatness that is Queen Bey’s historic Vogue cover. While she’s been on the cover of the 126-year-old magazine before, Knowles made history by hiring photographer Tyler Mitchell as the first black person to ever shoot a cover of the famed magazine.
At 23 years old, Mitchell is the youngest person to have ever shot a Vogue cover, according to The Cut, but he’s been around for a while. After graduating with a film degree from NYU, Mitchell has worked on several Condé Nast shoots, photographed director Spike Lee, rapper Lil Uzi Vert, actress Zazie Beetz, and another queen, Solange Knowles.
This position has been a long time coming for Mitchell who captured a glamorous yet natural Knowles just outside London, and he recognizes the statement made with his inauguration into a select group of famed photographers.
“For so long, black people have been considered things,” said the Marietta, Georgia native in a Vogue interview. “We’ve been thingified physically, sexually, emotionally. With my work I’m looking to revitalize and elevate the black body.”
Part of a new generation of photographers gaining fame through social awareness and social media, Mitchell is helping to change how we see the world, and he’s just getting started with Queen Bey.
“There was a ladder for the people who came before me, and there’s a ladder now—it’s just a new ladder,” said Mitchell. “I want to open the eyes of the kids younger than me, show them that they can do this too.”