Arts & Entertainment, Design & Style
Meet Your Instructor
Lesson time 03:32 min
Whether shooting the cover of Vogue or capturing scenes at a skate park, Tyler Mitchell makes images with effortless beauty and thoughtful commentary on race in America. Tyler opens up about his art and the elements that go into making photos.
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Topics include: Meet Your Instructor
[CROWD TALKING] [MUSIC PLAYING] TYLER MITCHELL (VOICEOVER): I started as a skateboarder and then I began to meet in Atlanta, Georgia, where I'm from a community of skateboarders. My friend that I was skateboarding with got a camera, and I became really obsessed. I could not keep my hands off it. Like, I kept borrowing it from him, kept filming other friends. - You have some pretty pointed and poignant messages. TYLER MITCHELL: I'm mainly trying to create a self-contained utopia, a self-contained world. - In our society, and in our culture, Blackness is represented in one particular way. What these photographs have done is to kind of open up the space of representation. TYLER MITCHELL (VOICEOVER): Existing in public space for Black folks in America has been denied. Technically, that freedom or that enjoyment that we're having, or that pleasure, could be taken away. FEMALE (VOICEOVER): Tyler Mitchell photographed Beyonce for the cover of the September Vogue issue. FEMALE (VOICEOVER): The youngest photographer and the first black photographer to shoot a cover of Vogue. It also helped open the gate, so now we're seeing a lot more representation in terms of the image makers. MALE (VOICEOVER): What was happening with these very young artists is significant. It has shifted our culture. It has shifted how we think about photography, and it's shifted who gets to shoot images. [MUSIC PLAYING] - I was always fascinated with websites like Tumblr and Pinterest, and I was always fascinated with and read magazines like Complex, Dazed, a lot of online magazines where I saw photographers like Patrick Collins, Ryan McGinley, Larry Clark, a lot of people who inspired me. And, I think, for me my work is, in a certain sense, about being inspired by those images and wanting to make images that reflect me in them, and that reflect protagonists that look like me in them. It's very important, I think, for me at least to think about portraying myself, right, or Black folks, in the light that I portray them in, right? In rich color fields and mainly using natural light. And those things speak, for me personally and instinctively and aesthetically, a vision of optimism for Black folks. - In this class, I'll be sharing essentially some of the basics of what I do as a photographer when I shoot, you know, in studio, when I shoot portraits of subjects in natural light. I'll be walking through how I compose my photos, the decisions that go into dressing models, the decisions that go into set design, and essentially all the ingredients that go into the recipe of making pictures. To those of you watching, it's always been important to me to share and to make it accessible some of the information that I've learned along the way on my journey as an artist. I hope that if you're watching this, you take some of those lessons and apply them to your own lives and journeys and experiences as ...
About the Instructor
A revolutionary talent, Tyler Mitchell made history as the first Black photographer to shoot an American Vogue cover, work that is part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. Now he’s sharing his process with you. Discover how to create and compose striking portraits, work with natural light and shadow, and tell a compelling story through your photos—even if the only equipment you have is your phone.
Featured Masterclass Instructor
History-making photographer Tyler Mitchell teaches you his artistic process for creating compelling images with any kind of camera.Explore the Class