You can thank Beyoncé for the historic change to Vogue. (Image via Page Six)

Under Beyoncé’s Direction, Vogue’s Cover Will Be Shot by an African-American Photographer

Tyler Mitchell will be the first African-American photographer to shoot the magazine’s cover in its 126 years of operation.

Thoughts x

Tyler Mitchell will be the first African-American photographer to shoot the magazine’s cover in its 126 years of operation.

It’s no surprise that Beyoncé is about to slay the September issue of Vogue. According to the Huffington Post, the artist will be taking on a remarkable amount of control of the issue, which is a rarity under the supervision of Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, who is rumored to be leaving her role in the magazine.

The fashion and lifestyle magazine’s September issue usually contains the highest page count of the year and is the most highly anticipated. Not only will Beyoncé be featured on the cover, but she will also appear throughout the magazine with-long form captions written by herself.

But there is something more historic about the upcoming issue that will completely change the world of photography and fashion. Beyoncé has chosen the first African-American to shoot a cover in the history of the magazine, which has been a fashion symbol for 126 years.

Tyler Mitchell is a 23-year-old graduate of New York University who first made his appearance in the public eye after completing a photo series titled “El Paquete.” The photo series featured 108 pictures inspired by his travels to Cuba, and, more specifically, the architecture and skate culture found throughout the country.

Mitchell’s work has previously been featured on the covers of Teen Vogue, The FADER and Office Magazine and has created film projects for acclaimed companies, such as Marc Jacobs and Ray-Ban.

Mitchell recently spoke with The New York Times about the representation communicated through his work. The photographer said, “I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way. There is an honest gaze to my photos.”

He can also be praised for his work as the director and star of a short film for American Eagle. Said Mitchell, “I do look at myself as a black American and equally as a symbol at the center of this country. I had never considered myself an American Eagle model, but what made it interesting was to twist the cultural conversation about what the brand stands for and turn it on its head.”

Beyoncé and Mitchell are certainly turning Vogue upside down in the best way possible. How is Mitchell the first African-American cover photographer in the 126-year history of the magazine?

Questions aside, these influencers will surely take the September issue by storm and help to pave a new path in the media, fashion and photography industry. Twitter users have taken to the platform to express their feelings and disappointment with Vogue.

Podcast host, Touré, for example, credited Beyoncé for making such an impactful change in media, despite any credit that the magazine may try to take. He said, “It’s amazing, and embarrassing for them, that Vogue has never before had a Black photographer work on their cover. And Beyonce changed that, not Vogue.”

Another user, Ziwe, coined the term “sad-gressive” in her tweet to describe the feeling of sadness that such an important progressive social reform is only occurring in 2018.

The issue will be released on Aug. 14.

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Alexis Rogers

Temple University
Journalism and Spanish

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