Kennedi Carter


At 21-years-old, Kennedi Carter has made history as the youngest photographer to shoot a cover for British Vogue in its 104-year history. Carter had the privilege of photographing one of her musical idols, Beyoncé, for the December 2020 cover. The North Carolina native said she was shocked when she got the job.

“It feels like it dropped out of the sky,” Carter told British Vogue. “I’m 21… I haven’t really had many opportunities like this.”

Carter is a fine art photographer who describes her work as showcasing “overlooked beauties of the Black experience” and was handpicked by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Beyoncé, who asked for a woman of color specifically for the shoot. This isn’t the first time Queen B has had a hand in a historic Vogue cover; in 2018, she tapped 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell as her photographer. He became the first-ever Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the publication’s 126-year history.

Although Carter’s aesthetic falls in line with Beyonce’s, especially with her recent Black Is King visual album, which uplifted the Blackness across the diaspora, Carter still felt shocked due to her perceived inexperience. She is younger than Irving Penn and David Bailey who’s first Vogue covers were 26 and 23, respectively.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do something at this level unless I was older, with many years in the game,” she told Vogue UK. “This is for people at the pinnacle of their careers.”

The senior African American studies major at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro told British Vogue that she didn’t let nerves get to her during the two-day shoot. She said she was going with the flow, having researched how the star worked and was surprised at how much control over the shoot Beyoncé gave her.

“I had underestimated how much she’s willing to submit herself to a vision and truly become someone else’s muse,” Carter said. Adding that the star’s ability to “control her own narrative” was something that she admired and that she was “just so, so nice.”

She said she appreciates the opportunity Beyoncé has given her and other artists that may not have been recognized without her platform.

“It’s really amazing that she’s using her influence to be able to give young artists this experience, and allowing their voices to be heard,” Carter told British Vogue. “She’s opening the door for others.”

Growing up, Carter didn’t expect to be a photographer; she’d only taken a photography class in high school because she thought it was going to be easy — it wasn’t. However, she kept at it and found her passion. She credits Dana Scruggs with getting her work in front of editors. Now that she has Beyoncé on her resume being noticed shouldn’t be a problem. But even with her newfound acclaim, she said she isn’t looking to leave her family in Durham to find a big city anytime soon. But she does plan to celebrate with them.

“I think we’ll just sit outside and make a little bonfire, the four of us,” She told British. “And I’ll invite my man.”

We can’t wait to see where you go from here, Kennedi! Congratulations!

Photo Credit: British Vogue/@internetbby Instagram