Arts & Culture

Inside Tyler Mitchell’s Homecoming Exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta 

The fashion designer, artist, and photographer celebrates Black joy and family in his hometown

Two women get ready in a bedroom

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Ancestors, 2021, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist.

Before Tyler Mitchell photographed Beyoncé for Vogue in 2018 (becoming the first Black photographer to shoot the magazine’s cover), and before he worked with brands like Gucci and Marc Jacobs, he documented scenes of youth culture in Atlanta. Now the native of Marietta, Georgia, who makes his home in New York, has his very own photography exhibition at the High Museum of Art, a place he remembers visiting as a child. 

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In line with Mitchell’s reputation for exploring intimate and surprising moments of Black empowerment, Idyllic Space features thirty photographs of its subjects at play, at home, and enjoying the natural world. “The exhibition emphasizes the ubiquitous role of photography in our everyday lives, from family portraits on display in domestic settings that tell the stories of one’s lineage to captured moments of levity with friends,” says assistant curator of photography Maria L. Kelly. In one image, two women stand back to back, simultaneously supporting and leaning on one another. In another, children play in the sand. A video installation projects images on the ceiling of young Black men engaging in everyday activities like eating ice cream and swimming—simple pleasures historically denied to them.

Mitchell’s Atlanta upbringing is reflected, too. “The deep greens that pervade many of the images reflect Atlanta’s title of ‘a city in the forest,’ with the largest tree canopy of any major urban area in the United States,” Kelly says. Plus, Mitchell created a photo-sculptural piece for the exhibition composed of images of twenty Atlanta-area families who are members of the Black youth leadership organization Jack and Jill of America, which he himself participated in while growing up. 

But the intimacy and joy in the photographs are for everyone to celebrate. “The carefully composed images invite the viewer to relate moments of connection, care, and play from their own lives to the scenarios depicted in the photographs,” Kelly says. Below, see six images from the exhibition, which runs until December 1.

A groom and a bride

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, A Glorious Wedding (And Blessings to Come), 2021, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist.


 

Men stand in the desert beside large paper planes

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Untitled (Paper Planes), 2022, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist.


 

Two people, one dressed in bright red and the other in blue, lean back on each other

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell (American, born 1995), Untitled (Trust), 2018, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist.


 

People stand in a desert

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Albany, Georgia, 2021, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist.


 

People swing on a swing set

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Untitled (Brothers of Suburbia), 2021, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist.


 

People stand in a desert

Photo: Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Vastness, 2022, wall vinyl, courtesy of the artist.