How photographer Kennedi Carter found artistic freedom

In How I got here Black and brown creatives explore how they made their way to the top of the fashion industry. In conversation with vogue, these editors, social media stars and more reveal the unforgettable moment that would completely change their careers. how i got here offers (stylized) life lessons, in the artists’ own words.

Kennedy CarterThe career of reached new heights in 2020 when she photographed Beyoncé for December cover of the British vogue. At the age of 21, Carter made history as the youngest person to photograph the publication’s cover. Seeing her art as an outlet for self-expression, the North Carolina-based photographer now only takes on passion projects. Its vulnerable imagery is filtered through Carter’s own life experiences and often informed by her upbringing in the south. With a portfolio that now includes fashion editorials in Charm and art photos in vanity lounge, Carter is focused on the next phase of her artistic journey, which she hopes will include a rich personal life outside of her career. Below, she describes how the opportunity with Beyoncé changed her life.

my british vogue the cover was definitely the moment that changed everything. I was doing a lot of work in North Carolina mainly. I received missions, but they were jobs rather than [large-scale] productions. And I was just like, “Okay, I’ll take what I can.” I would fund and run mine [fine art] personal work on the side when I had time. So when I had the opportunity to photograph Beyoncé, that’s when I knew there would be a major change in my professional life.

I didn’t always have the financial capacity to be as picky as I wanted to be, but now I have some of that freedom. And I still continue to do a lot of journalism jobs, but only those where the story particularly speaks to me.

I started photography when I was in high school. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I was always so scared that it wouldn’t be a lucrative thing for me, considering I’m based in the South. It asked me to believe in myself. I had no direct inspiration, just confidence in the process.

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