East Hampton singer, songwriter and pop culture queen Beyoncé is breaking barriers with the initiative she has taken for Vogue’s coveted September issue.
Not only is she the third ever black woman to appear on a September cover (the last time was in 2015), she has also influenced the publication to hire its first black cover photographer in the magazine’s 126-year history.
The singer chose NYC-based photographer, Tyler Mitchell, 23, who received his BFA in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Mitchell has already led photo campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Givenchy, and shot successful films and music videos for various artists and companies. “I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way,” Mitchell told The New York Times in December. “There is an honest gaze to my photos.”
According to Huffington Post, “The publication is contractually obligated to give Beyoncé full control over the cover, the photos of her inside the magazine and the captions, which she has written herself and are in long-form.”
Famed Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has always had complete and utter control over the publication and its shoots, including selection of the outfits worn by cover models. Subjects are usually given little to no say in their photos and are sent the magazine a week ahead of publication, a source told HuffPost.
Though Wintour usually prefers to hire photographers with much more traditional fashion experience than Mitchell, Beyoncé’s power and influence easily secured him the assignment.
The cover is also likely to be Wintour’s last September issue, according to four sources familiar with her plans. However, Vogue parent company Condé Nast has repeatedly said that the editor is not leaving the magazine.
On top of Beyoncé’s decision to hire her own photographer, choose her own shots and write her own photo captions, she has also decided not to sit for an interview as cover subjects usually do.