Tyler Mitchell’s Debut Digital photography Book Showcases Black Happiness


In June of last year, photographer Tyler Mitchell premiered his latest work for an exhibition at the Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (FOAM) in the Netherlands. For the show, Mitchell — who made history in August of 2018 when he was chosen by Beyoncé to become the first-ever Black photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue — showcased a handful of images taken between 2016 and 2019, each portraying Black youth in the summertime. Mitchell’s show then traveled to New York City, where he put on his first-ever solo exhibition in the US. And now, the full breadth of his portfolio is about to become available no matter where you are.  

Today, Mitchell announced the release of I Can Make You Feel Good, the 25-year-old Brooklyn-based photographer’s first book. And while each of the photographs on its pages was taken prior to 2020, what they represent has never felt more important to showcase: Black joy. “I would very often come across sensual, young, attractive white models running around being free and having so much fun — the kind of stuff Larry Clark and Ryan McGinley would make,” Mitchell told FOAM at the time of his exhibition. “I very seldom saw the same for Black people in images — or at least in the photography I knew of then.”

View this post on Instagram Can’t believe I’m finally sharing this. As a photographer, your first published monograph is a moment you dream of. So happy with how it came out. 206 pages of Black life in immersive full bleed with amazing essays/contributions by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Deborah Willis, Isolde Brielmaier (Curator-at-Large, ICP), and Mirjam Kooiman (Curator, FOAM). Out in the world August 25th. Pre-order now at the link in my bio.

A post shared by Tyler Mitchell (@tylersphotos) on Jun 29, 2020 at 6:59am PDT

In the book, you can expect to find stunningly lit photographs of young Black people, some fashion models and some not. “I make very little distinction between my commissioned and my personal works, using them both as an opportunity to create this utopian universe,” Mitchell is quoted saying in The Guardian. Most of the images are taken outside. One photo shows two men lounging on a billiards table surrounded by gummy bears, while another series of images shows a group enjoying a picnic. Friends are seen Double Dutching, playing on a swing set, and hula-hooping. In a submission titled “Untitled (Heart),” a woman, wearing an electric blue low-back one-piece, is shot at the beach. 

Of the 206-page book, which you can pre-order now before its official release on 25th August, Mitchell calls it a “declaration,” one that is “gut punching in its optimism,” according to The Guardian. “It feels important at a time like this to declare such a thing.”

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