For the first time in history, “Vanity Fair” cover shot was taken by Black photographer

Jul 15, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

For the first time in history, “Vanity Fair” cover shot was taken by Black photographer

Jul 15, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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While Vogue is being slammed for not hiring a Black photographer for shooting its August cover, Vanity Fair seems to have made a good choice. For the first time in its 35-year history, the magazine hired a Black photographer to shoot its cover photo. It was shot by Dario Calmese, featuring the amazing Viola Davis.

The Oscar-winning actress is featured on the July/August cover of Vanity Fair, and Calmese took a few more photos to follow the interview she gave for the publication. “To the best of our knowledge, it is the first Vanity Fair cover made by a Black photographer,” writes Radhika Jones, Vanity Fair’s editor in chief in her editor’s letter.

“For most of the magazine’s history, a Black artist, athlete, or politician appearing on a regular monthly issue of Vanity Fair was a rare occurrence. In our archives, excluding groups and special issues, we count 17 Black people on the cover of Vanity Fair in the 35 years between 1983 and 2017.”

While this is Dario Calmese’s first Vanity Fair cover, it’s not his first assignment for the publication. he photographed a feature on Billy Porter last year, which was his first assignment, following photo shoots with the actors George MacKay and Adrienne Warren. “This is his first major magazine cover, and we celebrate him and honor his vision at this heightened moment in American history,” writes Radhika Jones.

The photographer describes his concept as “a re-creation of the Louis Agassiz slave portraits taken in the 1800s—the back, the welts. This image reclaims that narrative, transmuting the white gaze on Black suffering into the Black gaze of grace, elegance, and beauty.” He sees these images as his own protest, and so does the actress who posed for him:

“I feel like my entire life has been a protest. My production company is my protest. Me not wearing a wig at the Oscars in 2012 was my protest. It is a part of my voice, just like introducing myself to you and saying, ‘Hello, my name is Viola Davis.’”

[via ABC News; image credits Gage Skidmore]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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8 responses to “For the first time in history, “Vanity Fair” cover shot was taken by Black photographer”

  1. Franco Kailsan Avatar
    Franco Kailsan

    This is not an issue of lighting dark skin etc. The reason this is important is because it sends a message out to black people that top jobs are accessible to them too after centuries of being wrongfully told they are not good enough.

    I just pointed out the elephant in the room.

    1. Robert Hicks Avatar
      Robert Hicks

      No this is directly saying they are less because they got a job based on skin color. Sounds like the confederacy all over again insisting blacks need white saviors to take care of them

    2. Christopher Guillou Avatar
      Christopher Guillou

      what Robert Hicks said.

  2. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    So?

  3. Kevin Lane Avatar
    Kevin Lane

    So?

  4. Barry Osborne Avatar
    Barry Osborne

    Photographer should be chosen based on talent and creative needs

  5. Arthur Costa Avatar
    Arthur Costa

    Male I’m sure

  6. Tristin Godsey Avatar
    Tristin Godsey

    I don’t mean to be pissy, but why is the cover photo focusing on her arm? The lighting is cool, the colors are gorgeous, but the pose is amateurish. From the lighting I’m assuming it was supposed to focus on her shoulder blade (why??) but all I see is the back of her arm. It’s very odd. You would think with such an experienced actress and such nice lighting that it would be amazing. It’s so disappointing when a milestone is negated by the product of it.