tyler mitchell's year in photos

The most exciting photographers of 2016 share glimpses of their year in images.

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Dec 15 2016, 2:25pm

Joey Badass. Amandla Stenberg. Jaden Smith. Vince Staples. No, not your dream Field Day line up, just some of the names who have gazed into photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell's lens. Hailing from Atlanta, the NYU film student now calls the Big Apple home. He began taking pictures when he was 15 after a friend introduced him to a Canon camera. Toying with form, color, and composition, Mitchell has already found himself working for Oyster and Crack magazines, as well as self-publishing a book on Cuba, called El Paquete. He's also found time to direct 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.

1. I realized 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.

2. This might be my favorite 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 L.A. She's absolutely someone I look to and talk to for creative inspiration, and she has great taste in memes too.

3. 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 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.

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

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

6. 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.

7. 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 hugely positive motivating force in my year. I'm sure we'll continue growing in the next one, too.

8. 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, color, shape, and composition.

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

10. 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.

11. My bucket list is good after this happened.

12. 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. 

Credits


Photography Tyler Mitchell