These Black Fashion Photographers Are Behind Your Favorite Editorials and Campaigns
Just like us, you're probably always focused on updating your Instagram feed so you're following the latest and greatest. We did our research and pulled together a list of Black fashion photographers who are behind some of the biggest campaigns you've admired from the likes of Nike, Prada, and Adidas. They also capture runway images and shoot editorials for major mags like i-D, Paper, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue, all while telling their own stories.
Ahead, you'll find people like Tyler Mitchell, who, at 23, was the first Black photographer in history to shoot the cover of American Vogue — and it was Beyoncé's September issue, no less. Tyler made waves, later admitting one of the iconic photos to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, proving the shoot's relevance. A cover photographed by a Black photographer was long overdue for the magazine, and it was a decision made by Beyoncé, who had complete creative control of the shoot and spoke up in the issue about providing opportunities for people of color.
Then there's Darrel Hunter, the face behind street style site ModeHunter, which you probably follow regularly during Fashion Week. Some of these artists — who are also filmmakers, directors, and stylists, BTW — are currently showcasing their own exhibitions, have published or are working on their own books (we see you, Mahaneela and Shaniqwa Jarvis!), and are focused on advancing and representing the Black community now more than ever.
POPSUGAR reached out to all of the photographers here, and many of them submitted quotes about current projects, i.e. how they're spending time at home, and missions they want to share with the world. Scroll through to hear their voices and get to know them through their powerful images and words. Have a favorite photographer who's not on the list but should be? Drop me a line and let me know.
Blair Caldwell is a Texas-native but LA-based celebrity photographer with recent work including big-name stars like Beyoncé, SZA, Ciara, and Michael B. Jordan. He told POPSUGAR, "I feel like my work is more on a personal vibe to entertainers which is cool and it keeps me on my toes because each artist is so different, so it challenges me to tap in and really create with them it's interesting and I learn a lot."
Past Work: Vogue, Wonderland, Teen Vogue, Pretty Little Things. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "To continue to create with artist on a personal level and hopefully get more into directing and creative direction and designing merch for photographers to wear on set or just to feel cool in would be fun to do."
Mahaneela is a multidisciplinary artist from London. "I started photographing because I saw something missing within the photography space. Black and brown people should be cherished and celebrated, and that has always been my intention with my work," she told POPSUGAR.
Current Mission: "At the moment, I'm working on some video projects and trying to navigate shooting and directing during quarantine, which has been an entirely new experience. I also have a photo book coming out soon and just recently started my web store, selling some of my favorite images as prints."
Stephen is a street style photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria, who is very interested in fashion and also practices styling himself. He photographs the beautiful outfits of people in his hometown community of Ebute Metta.
Past Work: Vogue, The New York Times, and i-D. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "I'm taking more time to reflect on what is happening around the world to people like me — Black people everywhere in the world. I've also made a personal decision that going forward, any organization, brands, or publications that won't support the course of Black Lives Matter really don't matter to me; all of these have been my thoughts."
Makeda is a photographer and creative director based in Brooklyn, NY, but she also has freelance writer and social media editor on her résumé. Makeda's work reflects her "exploration of concepts like intersecting identity, femininity, fashion, beauty, youth, and the Black American + African diaspora experience," as she puts it on her website.
Past Work: Ulta, Converse, Billboard, New Yorker, and the Urban Outfitters blog. View her portfolio here.
Current Mission: "Aside from working intensely on self-care and staying connected to my community during these tough times for Black people, I've been trying to keep my creativity alive with still lifes around the house, returning to my roots with self-portraits, and conceptualizing ideas in my notebooks and mood boards. I'm excited to get back to work IRL with some ecommerce collaborations and hopefully a new personal project," Makeda told POPSUGAR.
Darrel is one of the many street style photographers at Fashion Week, and he's currently based in London. He's the face behind ModeHunter, but he currently works freelance, focusing on his passion and love of style. "Fashion is an expression of personalities and emotions," Darrel wrote on his about page.
Current Mission: "Once the pandemic started, I began to explore working in different ways than people are used to seeing me. Most people know of me for my work as a fashion photographer. During this pause I started to work on personal projects that are fashion related but are from more of a reportage angle. As a creative, it is not only our duty to adapt with the times and come up with new ways of creating but also to reflect the times in our work."
"During this difficult time it is even more important for me to share the view through my lens as I capture the world how I see it – as a diverse, beautiful, and sometimes difficult place, it's important to represent it as it is. With my work, I want to not only inspire but also to continue pushing for others like me to have a space in this industry. I look forward to seeing even more Black creatives voicing their stories and visions through art, as our voices are necessary and have important narratives to share."
Joshua Kissi described himself to POPSUGAR as "an artist specializing in film and portraiture based in New York City. Raised in the Bronx, NY, Kissi grew up with an affinity for the arts and picked up a camera at the age of 17. Despite the lack of exposure and inaccessibility to the creative industries, Kissi's determination bore a decade long in creating intimate visuals." He is also the cofounder of TONL and content and creative agency Street Etiquette.
Past Work: Nike, Target, Vogue Brazil, and Teen Vogue. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "Personally, I've focused my time on just being present, especially right now with all of the recent protests. As a Black photographer, it feels like we have to act now, but I've been thinking around self-care and making sure I'm ready to create again while supporting Black photographers who are on the front lines documenting this experience. On the work side of things, I've been organizing a very special project with fellow photographer Micaiah Carter named 'See in Black,' where we're bringing together Black photographers across the nation to make a strong statement on Juneteenth!"
Djeneba, a creative photographer and artist based right outside of LA, cites inspiration from her French, Italian, and African cultural heritage. "My career is more of a journey and a life process than a goal in itself. Essentially, I want to achieve a meaningful connection with anyone that I cross paths with and elevate ideas and emotions through visual poetry," she told POPSUGAR.
Past Work: Vogue, The Cut, Time, i-D, Billboard, and Hypebeast. View her portfolio here.
Current Mission: "Since the quarantine, I have been working on an ongoing series of self-portraits using what is available around me, which has created a way of 'transportation' to an 'elsewhere' that exists inside my mind. The process and resulting images are directly linked to the various emotions I've been experiencing and have provided a form of meditation for me. I am a female artist who comes from a multicultural background and identifies as a POC. Those of us from marginalized communities deserve to be heard, and art has the capacity to impact the hearts and minds of people to bring about positive change."
Juan is a self-taught Dominican photographer who hails from Brooklyn, NY, but is currently based in LA. The foundation of his career is based heavily on collaboration. "I started photography to express whatever was going on in my mind. It was an outlet for me because I felt like I was always artistic but I never knew how to express it until I picked up a camera," Veloz wrote on his site.
Past Work: SSENSE, W magazine, Dior, Hypebeast, i-D, and The New York Times. View his portfolio here.
Myles is a 22-year-old photographer and director who was recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Art & Style 2020 list. Myles told POPSUGAR, "One of the core functions of my work is to expand people's ideas of beauty and representation. My work asks people to reconsider preconceived notions they have about groups of people, particularly those from marginalized communities. It asks people to shed their implicit biases and understand that we are all deserving of the same treatment, the same opportunities, and the same space no matter where we come from or what we look like."
Past Work: Paper magazine, i-D, W magazine, and Nike's AirMax Day campaign. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: At-home shoots for GCDS, Conde Nast, Calvin Klein, and Reebok, all while social distancing from his bedroom. Myles also shot a series of self-portraits to be published on Vice UK.
Dana Scruggs is a Chicago native now based in New York who got into photography by taking photos of models wearing vintage clothes for her Etsy shop. She had the honor of being the first Black woman photographer to shoot an athlete for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue in 10 years and in November 2018 became the first Black person to photograph Rolling Stone's cover in 50 years.
Past Work: Her own publication, SCRUGGS Magazine, where she focused on photographing the male form (starting with Adonis Bosso), ESPN Magazine's Body Issue (her breakthrough in the industry), Rolling Stone, Essence, GQ, The New York Times, and CR Fashion Book. View her portfolio here.
Christian, based in Atlanta, cites Afrofuturism as a constant source of inspiration, also telling POPSUGAR he has been focusing on partnering with other artists pushing forward the narrative of Black people and experimenting with innovation. He graduated from SCAD in 2016 and, as he puts it, is "more inspired than ever to produce visuals and lasting memories that permeate the minds and hearts of my creative and social media communities and beyond."
Past Work: Nike, Nordstrom, Billboard, V magazine, Nylon, and Harper's Bazaar. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "As a Black artist, I want to add to the conversation on how we're responding right now to the construct of our social norms as Americans and the nuances of racial identity, class, and culture that is and has always been woven into the fibers of our daily lives.
"Right now I'm working on a short film that will also be fashion-centric; the four Black female leads carry out a vigilante mission in the name of justice and retaliation against a particular police officer that has been known to vilify Black women in their community. They are somewhat reminiscent of the Black Panther Party, but the story is set in a not-too-distant future. My goal is to have the film incite dialogue about who and where we are as people and show how justice is literally worth risking your life for some of us."
Kreshonna Keane is a self-taught fashion and editorial photographer based in the Bronx. "My work focuses on celebrating Black beauty and creating juxtapositions between my subjects and their environments. I often use color theory, stigmas created by society, and other curated ideas to bring my visions to life," she told POPSUGAR.
Past Work: Client work for Paper Planes, Topicals, and Indira Skin Care. View her portfolio here.
Current Mission: Since the pandemic, Kreshonna has been booking FaceTime photo shoots with clothing brands and skin-care lines and has curated her own editorial works, shooting subjects across the world.
"FaceTime shooting has taught me a lot about myself as a photographer, and I have learned many skills such as on-spot styling, time management, and clearly articulating my thoughts and needs from behind the camera. These are skills I will definitely take into my in-person shooting once the pandemic is over. I am blessed to have been able to create quality content, even without being directly in front of my subjects," Kreshonna said.
Obidi Constantine Nzeribe
Obidi is a Nigerian fashion and portrait photographer currently based in Dallas, TX. "My love for photography started at a very young age, and ever since then, it has blossomed into a passion for fashion. My goal with photography is to highlight the beauty of proper representation," he told POPSUGAR.
Past Work: Ellements Magazine, Ace Beaute Cosmetics, and Browbar. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "I have been taking this time at home to clear my mind and learn how to be a better storyteller. I believe in the power of storytelling, and I hope to come out of quarantine with a more refined voice. Once this is all over, I plan to start traveling and photographing again."
Hanif is a photographer and Pan-African artist from Paterson, NJ, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. His past work has included fashion projects, but as he told POPSUGAR, "I believe my work moving forward will mainly focus on enduring and encouraging African-centered consciousness."
Past Work: Office magazine, Pyer Moss, and Beacon's Closet. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "I have mostly been working on personal projects, and I have been on the phone contacting government officials and petitioning for more justice to be served for Breonna Taylor."
Kwami is based in NYC and specializes in photography, motion, an art direction. He describes his work to POPSUGAR as "A vibrant depiction of the world through my eyes. I love the use of distorted lines and shapes to put emphasis on the subjects that I capture."
Past Work: Revlon, Swarovski, Highsnobiety, the Into app, and Essence Fashion House. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "To bring to light the narratives of the Black community, which I feel have not been represented enough. I am currently working on a photo project based on the Black experience through the perspective of different groups in the community. I have been creating through different outlets since the lockdown began; primarily working on my own merch, creating digital art with my photographs, and developing my own film."
Donté describes his photography to POPSUGAR as "my self-expression, my political voice, and my outcry. I've always longed to tell stories, and now I get the chance to narrate my own through my own voice and vision."
Past Work: Ivy Park, Puma, ASOS, For Love & Lemons, Billboard, Paper magazine, and The Hollywood Reporter. View his portfolio here.
Current Mission: "Luckily, Georgia has opened up fully so business has been picking up. I've been able to work with my creative partner Ahmad Barber, and together we make ABDM+, which has been amazing since we're both Black photographers collaborating together on shoots and creative direction. Right now, Black people are rightfully highlighted because of our past and current contributions to every aspect of the industry."
Tyler is based in Brooklyn, NY, and most notably known in the fashion industry for his 2018 Vogue Beyoncé cover, marking the first time a Black photographer was enlisted to shoot American Vogue — and for the September issue, at that. Tyler's goal is to "explore and document a new aesthetic of Blackness," according to his site.
Past Work: Vogue, i-D, Calvin Klein, Prada, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, JW Anderson, Simone Rocha x Moncler, Converse, Nike, and Ray-Ban. View his portfolio here.
Tamu, who was born in Jamaica and raised in New York, began photographing street style in 2006, launching her site, All the Pretty Birds, in 2008. She has maintained a career in the fashion industry, from taking the reins as editor in chief of Grazia.it to becoming style director of Out There.
Past Work: Glamour, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle. View her current work here.
Renell is a Parsons graduate (born in the Bronx) who you've probably seen tagged in many of your favorite supermodels' and Kardashian-Jenners' Instagram posts. She's got her own streetwear line for Ice Studios and a knack for personal selfies, which you'll find peppered in between shots of her editorial work on her feed.
Past Work: Oyster, Notion, Teen Vogue, Hunger magazine, Office magazine, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Nordstrom. View her portfolio here.
Amber is a London-based photographer born in Kingston, Jamaica. She aims to focus her work on the "beauty of life," and she's inspired by Caribbean culture. Amber recently photographed the Girls Next Door shoot for Dazed, her first feature in the magazine.
Nadine was born in Southeast London and focuses her photography on depicting identity, diversity, and culture. She showcases her own Nigerian/Jamaican background by letting it inspire her work, and she creates videos, too.
Past Work: Stella McCartney, REDValentino, Vogue, Garage, i-D, WSJ, Dior, Nina Ricci, Mira Mikati, Gap, and See by Chloé. View her portfolio here.
Bukunmi is a photographer, stylist, and art director who has been widely featured across fashion magazine editorials and fashion brand ads and campaigns. Her most recent work focuses on the female gaze, and she has been supporting social-justice organizations such as Nasty Women Portraits and Magic in Her Melanin.
Past Work: Elle, Complex, Vogue, Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, Nike, and Target. View her portfolio here.
Shaniqwa is not just a fashion artist known for capturing emotional and sensual qualities in her work, but she also released her first book that is a history of her career spanning two decades. She notably cocreated Social Studies, a retail pop-up focusing on connecting the youth with artists.
Past Work: Supreme, Nike, Adidas, Cultured magazine, and The Cut. View her portfolio here.
Campbell is born and based in London, a photographer having graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2016. He is focused on featuring underrepresented faces and bringing them to the forefront. Notably, he created Nii Agency, a modeling agency dedicated to celebrating diversity.
Past Work: i-D, Garage, Vogue, Dazed, and WSJ Magazine. View his portfolio here.
Quil's Instagram bio says it all: "I would've been a painter but the camera was invented." He focuses on representing the Black community through his work, which is inspired by queerness, the internet, and pop culture. Quil's themes always revolve around the current cultural climate, though there's a fantastical quality to his work.
Past Work: The New York Times, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, Coach, Awake NY, Purple magazine, Sies Marjan, Versace Jeans, Urban Outfitters, and ASOS Mag. View his portfolio here.
Daniel hails from Lagos, and his work focuses on exploring his own sexuality and identity, fashion, and advancing African culture. Daniel is a filmmaker, director, and freelance stylist. "When it comes to world-building, I always like the idea of existing in a time loop where you're drawing inspiration from the past, present and future — something that some people may refer to as Afrofuturism," Obasi explained to i-D.
Past Work: i-D, Marie Claire, Indie magazine, and Garage. View his portfolio here.
Kennedi is a Durham, NC, native by way of Dallas who focuses on Black subjects with themes surrounding peace, love, beauty, and community. She's currently exhibiting her work at CAM Raleigh.
Past Work: The Fader magazine, No Sesso, and Flex. View her portfolio here.
Adrienne is inspired by "femininity, soulfulness, and color," according to her website. She's an artist based in NYC and inspired by nostalgia. Her images have a certain vintage aesthetic to them and a warm color palette that you'll pick up on as soon as you see her feed.
Past Work: Dior, Coach, Nike, Harper's Bazaar, and Paper magazine. View her portfolio here.