I Can Make You Feel Good
Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, a 24-year-old photographer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, aims to revitalize and elevate the Black body in his work by representing people in his own community as joyful and proud. Characterized by a use of natural light and candy-color palettes, his work visualizes a Black utopia contrasting with representations and experiences of reality, while offering a powerful and hopeful counter narrative.

“I often think about what white fun looks like, and this notion that Black people can’t have the same. Growing up with Tumblr, I would often come across images of sensual, young, attractive white models running around being free and having so much fun – the kind of stuff Larry Clark and Ryan McGinley would make. I seldom saw that freedom for Black people in images – or at least in the photography I knew. My work responds to this lack. I feel an urgency to visualize Black people as free, expressive, effortless, and sensitive.” –Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

“I aim to visualize what a Black utopia looks like or could look like. People say utopia is never achievable, but I love the possibility that photography brings. It allows me to dream and make that dream become very real.”

“In my work, I use the tools of documentary reportage, portraiture, fashion photography, art photography, and filmmaking. I view fashion as a space where clothes can enhance my message about the Black body. I make very little distinction between my commissioned and my personal works, using them both as opportunities to create this utopian universe – whether that’s photographing Beyoncé, Spike Lee, skaters in Cuba, or my very close friends.”

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

“Documentary and real, or fictitious and staged, my images are characterized by an interest in purity and intimacy. In them, models recline, embrace each other closely, and peer into the lens, leaving evidence of a public display of affirmation in Blackness and a unifying visual text of hope. I also occasionally weave symbols into my portraits, such as water guns and plastic chains – symbols of repression as a subtle reminder of the ways in which the Black body is still politicized, and sometimes unable to move through the real world as freely as I would like.”

I Can Make You Feel Good is simply a declaration. And one that, for me, is gut punching in its optimism. It feels important at a time like this to declare such a thing.”

–Tyler Mitchell

 

Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell

Over the course of the exhibition, Mitchell will lead a number of multidisciplinary public programs and events which will activate the galleries. In addition, Mitchell will unveil a series of retail products via his new product design endeavor Items from the Studio which will be available for sale in ICP’s new shop. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

ICP’s new Curator-at-Large Isolde Brielmaier notes, “Tyler’s exhibition comes at a critical time in our visual culture when so many are challenging pre-existing representations and taking ownership of their own imaging. His poetic images and videos offer our visitors a wonderful opportunity to re-envision how they see the world around them and all that is possible.”

 

I Can Make You Feel Good / Tyler Mitchell
October 1 – December 31, 2020
ICP International Center for Photography / New York
Visit the exhibition page >

I Can Make You Feel Good
Tyler Mitchell, Deborah Willis, Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hardcover, 206 pages / Published by Prestel
Visit the publication page >

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