Book Club #65: I Can Make You Feel Good by Tyler Mitchell

Earlier this year Tyler Mitchell held his first US solo exhibition at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. Now his body of photography and film from the exhibition comes alive in his debut monograph with “I Can Make You Feel Good” a 206-page celebration of his Mitchell’s distinctive vision of a Black utopia. I Can Make You Feel Good by Tyler Mitchell out 28 July 2020 published by Prestel.

While only twenty-five years old, his work has already fermented its place in history. In 2018, the Atlanta born photographer, made history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of American Vogue for Beyoncé’s appearance in the September issue. In 2019 Mitchell’s portrait from this series was acquired by The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for its permanent collection. “I Can Make You Feel Good is simply a declaration. And one that I feel is gut-punching in its optimism. It feels important at a time like this to declare such a thing.” Explained Tyler Mitchell.

Each page is bathed in Mitchell’s signature candy-colored palette. No white space visible, the book’s design mirrors the photographer’s all-encompassing vision, which is characterized by the use of glowing natural light and rich color to portray the young Black men and women he photographs with intimacy and optimism.

The monograph features written contributions from Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries), Deborah Willis (Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University), Mirjam Kooiman (Curator, Foam), and Isolde Brielmaier (Curator-at-Large, ICP), whose critical voices examine the cultural prevalence of Mitchell’s reimagining of the Black experience.