*Last year, Tyler Mitchell, a 23-year-old artist from Atlanta, became the first black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue in the magazine’s 126-year history after Beyonce “used her power and influence to get him that assignment,” a source said.
Now Mitchell’s historic portrait of the beloved singer is being added to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.
In a statement to CNN, Associate Curator of Photographs Leslie Ureña said the team was “delighted to acquire this magnificent portrait” of Beyoncé in a Valentino dress and Philip Treacy hat, per Complex.
In his own statement one day earlier, Mitchell — a graduate of New York University — noted of the portrait’s original publication as the day “we broke the flood gates open.”
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A year ago today we broke the flood gates open
Now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection pic.twitter.com/T97rHU9u8J
— Tyler Mitchell (@Tyler_Mitchell_) August 6, 2019
“I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way,” he previously told the Times of his photo collection. “There is an honest gaze to my photos.”
In 2015, Mitchell released his self-published book of photos, El Paquete, which focused on Cuban skate culture and architecture. He captured the book’s 108 photos while in Cuba for six weeks as part of a documentary photography program, according to the Times.
Speaking on her photograph for Vogue’s September 2018 issue, Beyoncé dished about the challenges of getting such covers when she first broke into the music industry “because black people did not sell.” But that’s merely a myth.
“Not only is an African-American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African-American photographer,” she said at the time.