Aged 23, Tyler Mitchell is one of the youngest photographers to shoot an American Vogue cover. Photographing Beyoncé for the magazine’s September 2018 issue, Mitchell made history as the first black photographer to shoot the cover in the magazine’s 126-year history.
Mitchell grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and took up photography as a teenager, buying his first camera in the ninth grade. He was interested in skateboarding culture and taught himself how to make skate videos. Mitchell then applied to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a short horror film he made at his parents’ house. As a freshman, he began shooting music videos for rapper Kevin Abstract and indie bands like Brockhampton.
Instead of signing with an agent, Mitchell showcased his work through Instagram, eventually landing jobs with Marc Jacobs , Givenchy and Converse. In 2015, he travelled to Cuba and upon returning home self-published a book about Havana’s skating culture. Mitchell shot the cover for Teen Vogue’s digital issue on gun reform in March 2018, photographing teenage gun reform activists from around the country, which caught the attention of Raul Martinez, Condé Nast’s corporate creative director. He was then commissioned to shoot the Beyoncé cover.