Tyler Mitchell has made history. The then 23-year-old Atlanta-bred photographer is the mind and hands behind the elite cover of Vogue’s September 2018 issue. He had the opportunity to be the first African-American photographer in its 125-year-history to photograph the cover, which starred Beyonce, as reported by Vogue.
With a major accomplishment under his belt, Mitchell is now in the process of getting the portrait acquired by a museum, that being the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in Washington, D.C.
He revealed the news on Wednesday (Aug. 7) with an Instagram post. “A year ago today we broke the flood gates open,” Mitchell began. “Since then it was important to spend the whole year running through them making sure every piece of the gate was knocked down. And now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.”
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A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Since then it was important to spend the whole year running through them making sure every piece of the gate was knocked down. And now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection
Our mission is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape this nation’s history, development, and culture. We are happy to work with Tyler to acquire his photograph of Beyoncé Knowles into the Portrait Gallery’s collection. https://t.co/4wXp0CReOS
— National Portrait Gallery (@smithsoniannpg) August 6, 2019
Mitchell told Vogue that the Beyoncé shoot served as more than another fashion production but an opportunity for empowerment. “For so long, black people have been considered things,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been thingified physically, sexually, emotionally. With my work, I’m looking to revitalize and elevate the black body.”
CNN reports that The National Portrait Gallery has confirmed the acquisition of the image has been approved and is underway. There is no official date when the image will be exhibited to the public.