Tyler Mitchell, Photographer

 Illustration by  Jeffrey Phillips

Illustration by Jeffrey Phillips

Tyler Mitchell (Atlanta, b. 1995) is a photographer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. He started by making skate videos and taking pictures of music, fashion, and youth culture in Atlanta and NYC. He received his B.F.A in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Mitchell is the first African American photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue in its 125-year history.

 

 

Portfolio | Instagram

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Umbra,
by Viviane Sassen

"I'm a film school student so a lot of my experience with photography has been through books at Dashwood, which is like my favorite store ever, and fosters such a good photo book community and once I found that I was kind of obsessed with the form of them. My first photo book that I really felt connected to was Viviane Sassen's Umbra. It was poetry and photography all at once in this really cool designed object. It had opened up flat pages. That was for me, the full package. I was like, 'This is the best thing I could do'."

 

Zzyzx,
by Gregory Halpern

"This book for me was really cool, just because, it's this documentary look at Los Angeles in a way. It's done in a poetic, observational but still authored way. I just really liked it."

 

Liz Johnson Artur,
by Liz Johnson Artur

"Its just a body of her work, you know just the deep in blackness and all over the world really. The documentary aspect made me feel like black people are just so naturally beautiful in their way of being. I felt like I could highlight black life in a really special way once I saw her pictures. I'm looking through it now, and there's all this awkwardness in it. There's all this really beautiful, uncomfortable, but natural moments that we're living. And I never noticed that. Even these kinds of lanky, skinny black dudes with their shirts tucked into their shorts and high socks, just stuff I used to be made fun of. It just looks like me. I guess I do like autobiographical stuff too."

 

Once In Harlem,
by Katsu Naitō

"This book came out about 30 years ago and it was a documentary picture book of life in Harlem. I really like this book because it just took me to that time, but it also highlighted all little kind of dressing symbols and codes of black people. And I love the stuff with the toy cars. That's what got me into this book. There's something really beautifully innocent about the black masculinity that he doesn't, I don't think, was capturing intentionally. I mean maybe he consciously was thinking about it, but, the way it's popped back up in our time now, the way black men have been demonized in a way, especially by the police and by society in general. To see these images now, for me, is rejuvenating for one and it also has this innocence about it that it doesn't even know it has. Black culture is just everywhere in a really beautiful way and its how I feel about that book. And, specifically the toy cars."

 

Neue Welt,
by Wolfgang Tillman

"What I like most about his work is the way it is so about the layout. The way he is able to graphically tell a story is much more interesting than the images themselves, if that makes sense. You look at Wolfgang and you think wow this a level of mastery, the likes of which you know I just haven't even reached yet basically. Because, he's putting his documentary, travel-the-world, hotel pictures next to his abstract, light painting photo gram work. And the way he's designing, the way he's creating everything is totally on a new level. I do aspire to it, but I don't necessarily think that I am yet on that level of doing it yet. Wolfgang's pictures read as distinctly comfortable with themselves because they're not trying to necessarily be anything aesthetically crazy. So they know, that when they're laid out in book form that they're really, really special correctively."