FOR THE FIRST TIME in its 126-year history, a black photographer is shooting the cover of American Vogue, and not just any issue, the all-important fall fashion issue. The long overdue milestone is happening at the behest of Beyoncé, who will grace the magazine’s September cover. She selected Tyler Mitchell, a young photographer, originally from Atlanta, for the project.

A recent college graduate, Mitchell, 23, earned a BFA in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in September 2017. He already has a number of high-profile assignments under his belt. Mitchell’s clients have included Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Converse, and American Eagle. For Teen Vogue, he photographed the student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are fighting for gun reform. He also captured artist Toyin Ojih Odutola and the Metropolitan Museum’s Kimberly Drew for i-D magazine, and Spike Lee for Office magazine.

Citing photographers William Eggleston, Clayton Patterson, Jamel Shabazz, Carrie Mae Weems, LaToya Ruby Frazier, James Van Der Zee, and Viviane Sassen, “who’s like the godmother of all the shit that’s going on right now,” as influences, Mitchell told This Generation, “You put those all together and you have seven very different photographers, but you’ll see that thread in what I’m doing.”

A few years ago, Mitchell spent six weeks in Cuba photographing the skateboarding scene. He self-published the images in coveted book that sold out. Soon, he was gaining a foothold in the music industry.

He has photographed Kelsey Lu and Vince Staples, made videos for Abra and Kevin Abstract. In 2015, Abstract formed Brockhampton, an atypical “boy band” that has a dozen or more members at any one time. The group found each other online through a Kanye West fan forum and performed at the 2018 edition of Coachella, where Beyoncé was a headliner.

Currently based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mitchell recently described his work to the New York Times. “I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way,” he said. “There is an honest gaze to my photos.”

“I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way. There is an honest gaze to my photos.” — Photographer Tyler Mitchell

According to reports, Beyoncé has been given full creative control of her image as well as Vogue’s cover text. The issue includes an as told to first-person essay about her recent experiences and perspectives about her family and career. The September edition of American Vogue hits newsstands Aug. 14.


EVERYTHING IS COMING UP ROSES: The September 2018 issue of Vogue was released online Aug. 6, and the styling for one of the covers has a similar theme to Rihanna’s British Vogue cover—face-framing flowers. Although, Rihanna’s rendition is far more dramatic and avant-garde. Beyoncé’s cover treatment includes a wide-ranging essay as told to Clover Hope. Written in first-person, Beyoncé opens up about her pregnancy experience with her twins, her body, her vision for Coachella, how she is fueled by creativity, the importance of providing opportunities for young artists, male-female relationships, what she wishes for her children, and her heritage and legacy.


British Vogue’s September 2018 cover of Rihanna was shot by British photographer Nick Knight and features facial bouquets by Japanese flower artist Makoto Azuma. “I love flowers. I’m the type of girl that would keep flowers until they turn to ashes,” Rihanna says. “I get so upset when I have to leave a hotel room with flowers in it.”


MEANWHILE, THE FASHION BIBLE can’t get enough of Rihanna. She will grace the September cover of British Vogue, which includes a feature profile.

Rihanna’s latest Vogue cover follows an appearance on the December/January 2018 issue of Paris Vogue, in which photographer Juergen Teller’s images of her appropriated the work of Mickalene Thomas. The controversy caused an uproar on social media in late July, which prompted a slew of news reports.

Lehmann Maupin, the gallery that ironically represents both Thomas and Teller, released a statement. It said Teller’s images “have rightly been compared” to Thomas’s, emphasized the depth of meaning behind the look and style of her work, and distinguished Teller’s fine art practice which it represents, from his editorial work, which it does not. Teller and Paris Vogue haven’t commented on the flap.

RIHANNA’S FORTHCOMING British Vogue cover was shot by photographer Nick Knight. The beautiful images frame her famous face in lavish crush of intensely colored florals and rare botanicals. Japanese flower artist Makoto Azuma made the facial bouquets and head pieces she wore.

Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue, chose Rihanna as his cover star. Enninful was named editor of British Vogue last April and took the helm Aug. 1. He is first man and first black editor of the century-old fashion publication.

A Ghanaian-born Brit, Enninful previously served as fashion and creative director at W Magazine, after getting his start early at i-D magazine. According to reports, he began as fashion director at age 18 and remained at the British fashion title for two decades. His connection with Knight goes way back. The photographer worked regularly for i-D throughout the 80s and 90s.

Before joining W, Enninful contributed to Italian Vogue and American Vogue. For his first September issue at British Vogue, he said he was determined that the 400-page guide to fall fashion would be something special. He wrote about his vision for the entire issue.

In explaining his cover choice, Enninful said, “I always knew it had to be Rihanna. A fearless music-industry icon and businesswoman, when it comes to that potent mix of fashion and celebrity, nobody does it quite like her.” CT


TOP IMAGE: Beyonce performs in Glasgow, Scotland, during her “On the Run II” Tour with Jay-Z at Hampden Park on June 9, 2018. | Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment


READ MORE about photographer Tyler Mitchell at Vogue and This Generation


UPDATE (7/6/18): Beyoncé’s September 2018 Vogue covers have been added to this post. They were released today online.


Rihanna’s April 2011 cover graces the compilation volume “Vogue: The Covers.” The updated edition released in September 2017 features notable covers from the magazine’s 125-year history and every cover from 2010 through the book’s publication. “Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People” documents the magazine’s collaborations with the celebrated fashion museum. Edward Enninful’s work is featured in “i-D covers 1980–2010.” Lauded by Time and O: The Oprah Magazine, The New Yorker called, the poetry collection “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce” by Morgan Parker, “a dynamic meditation on the experience of, and societal narratives surrounding, contemporary black womanhood.”


British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful meets with Rihanna to talk about the concept and styling for her September 2018 cover shoot. | Video by British Vogue


Directed by Tyler Mitchell, this short documentary about Brockhampton, an atypical “boy band” formed in San Marcos, Texas, and based in North Hollywood, Calif., showcases the photographer’s penchant for storytelling and eye for compelling images. | Video by Tyler Mitchell Films



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