my year in photos... by tyler mitchell

A picture speaks a thousand words, or so they say, so we invited our favourite image-makers to submit the pictures that say 2016 to them. From pop stars to parties, amazing landscapes and beyond, this is NYU film student Tyler Mitchell’s ‘my year in...

by i-D Staff
15 November 2018, 3:09pm

Joey Badass. Amandla Stenberg. Jaden Smith. Vince Staples. No, not your dream Field Day line up, but just some of the names who have gazed down the lens of photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell's lens. Hailing from Atlanta, the NYU film student now calls the Big Apple home and began taking pictures when he was 15 after a friend introduced him to a Canon camera. Concerning himself with the toying of form, colour and composition, he's already found himself working for Oyster and Crack magazines, as well as self-publishing a book on Cuba, called El Paquete, and directing music videos for Awful Records chanteuse Abra. We asked him to pick the moments that defined his year. This is Tyler Mitchell's year in photos...

My mom
"I realised I wasn't photographing my family enough or at all. So here's a recent portrait I took of my mom in our house in Atlanta over Thanksgiving. Because if it weren't for her and my dad I wouldn't be writing this."

Amandla Stenberg
"This might be my favourite picture I've taken of Amandla. It's so iconic because you don't need to see her to know who it is. This was at a party right after the Golf Wang fashion show in LA. She's absolutely someone I look to and talk to for creative inspiration and she has great taste in memes too."

"This is Eddy on our first test shoot together. Within moments of meeting I had asked him to smile so I could shoot his braces. You can tell our growth in comfort level between the two shots. Eddy has impacted my 2016 more than anyone and is one of my first muses when I began considering black male identity in my work. It's pretty crazy how far the friendship has grown so naturally."

 "An outtake from my first ever shoot for i-D online, thanks i-D ;) I was so glad I could include Kejuan, a BMXer/model I shot my first fashion shoot ever with back in 2013."

 "Crystal in my apartment in New York. She's effortlessly one of the most fun people I met this year."

PHAROS festival 
"2016 was the year of full circle moments. Here a shot from when I went to Joshua Tree and photographed Childish Gambino's PHAROS festival. Needless to say Gambino is a huge inspiration in forming my sense of self."

 "Behind the scenes on the Come 4 Me music video I directed for Abra. Also pictured is my amazing DP Mika framing up one of our first shots. Abra been a huge positive motivating force in my year. I'm sure we'll continue growing in the next one too."

 "An unused shot from a fun test with Emma. Sometimes we forget that not everything needs to be published and not everything needs to have a purpose. Glad this could come out the archive because it reminds me to have more fun and create more honest moments in images that focus on subject, colour, shape, and composition."

Slick Woods
 "The first shot I took when I met Slick Woods. This was 6 months ago and I remember her timidly telling me that she was 'trying to make the modelling thing work out'. The industry needed a girl who looks like her and I'm glad they didn't sleep."

Tyler The Creator
Taken at Tyler, the Creator's first Golf Wang fashion show. I don't know where to start but I want to thank you for inspiring me and so many others. I'm corny."

"My bucket list is good after this happened."

Wish This Was Real
 "From my film Wish This Was Real. This shot feels as important today as it did seven months ago when I released it on Vimeo on a whim. Since then so many people have told me the impact it has had on them and I want to keep creating work that does this, especially in these uncertain times."


Photography Tyler Mitchell