Beyonce’s 2018 Vogue cover, which was warmly received by fans and considered historic because it was the first cover to be shot by a Black photographer, is receiving an even greater honor. Yesterday, Vogue announced that the photograph from the cover was acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in Washington, DC.
Tyler Mitchell, the 23-year-old photographer who shot the cover, also posted the announcement on his own Instagram, writing: “A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Since then it was important to spend the whole year running through them making sure every piece of the gate was knocked down. And now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.”
Beyonce’s cover was notable for being the first time a cover subject was given so much editorial control over a shoot. Usually, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour would tightly control the direction of a shoot, from the selection of the photographer to final approvals over the cover itself. However, Beyonce apparently insisted that the only way she’d do the shoot is if she was given control over how she was portrayed and if she could select her own photographer. It looks like her instincts paid off in an even bigger way than anyone could have expected.