This 21-Year-Old Photographer Just Shot Beyoncé and Became British Vogue’s Youngest Cover Artist Ever

Kennedi Carter is a student at the University of North Carolina earning a degree in African American studies.

Kennedi Carter's portraits of Beyoncé for British Vogue.
Kennedi Carter's portraits of Beyoncé for British Vogue.

She’s just barely old enough to drink in the US, and photographer Kennedi Carter already got the distinct honor of photographing one of her idols, Beyoncé, in the process becoming the youngest photographer ever to shoot a cover for British Vogue.

Sure, Carter had a self-portrait featured in a special project on Black photographers in the New York Times. She’d shot portraits of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace for GQ. And she’d been honored with a spot on the British Journal of Photography’s 2020 Ones to Watch roundup, and won the single image award from Pride Photo in 2020.

But a Vogue cover and an audience with the Queen is, obviously, on another level for the photographer, who plans to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro next year with a degree in African American studies.

Beyoncé requested that a woman of color shoot the portraits, and found Carter in collaboration with the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful. The three Vogue covers show Beyoncé in, respectively, outfits by Mugler, Adidas, and Alexander McQueen.

On her website, Carter, a Durham, North Carolina, native now living in Dallas, describes her work as exploring “the aesthetics & sociopolitical aspects of Black life as well as the overlooked beauties of the Black experience: skin, texture, trauma, peace, love, and community.”

Her photos show Black people—young men perched on horseback, older women in their Sunday best, and members of her own family—in closely studied but seemingly casual compositions.

 

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Beyoncé by me for British Vogue Credits: #Beyoncé wears an @AlexanderMcQueen jacket, @AtsukoKudoLatex hotpants and @LouboutinWorld shoes for the third and final December 2020 cover of @BritishVogue. Photographed by @InternetBby and styled by @Edward_Enninful with hair by @JawaraW and colourists @Rachel_Bodt and @ShirleyGHauteHair, make-up by @FrancescaTolot, nails by @OhMyNailsNYC, set design by @StefanBeckman and lighting direction by @_Wordie. Photography assisting by @Ohmakeda & @myeshaevongardner. With thanks to Beyoncé’s personal stylist @ZerinaAkers and publicist @YvetteNoelSchure; Parkwood Entertainment creative director @KwasiFordjour and creative producer @LaurenLaLaBaker; @TravisKiewel and @RobFamous for @ThatOneProduction; and Vogue entertainment director-at-large @JillDemling. Representation- @candacegelmanassociates

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“I had done a lot of research into how she works, and I had underestimated how much she’s willing to submit herself to a vision and truly become someone else’s muse,” Carter told Vogue, noting that she admires the singer’s ability to “control her own narrative.”

And it sounds like the young Carter has sufficient composure to control her own, telling Vogue that after the shoot was done, “I just got home, got into bed, and went to sleep.”


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