Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 10 December 2019

It took more than 33 years for a major Naomi Campbell fashion shoot to have a black photographer behind the lens

The model thanked photographer Campbell Addy for a ‘beautiful day’ shooting

Naomi Campbell's 'Guardian Weekend' cover shoot was her first mainstream fashion shoot featuring a black photographer behind the lens in more than 33 years. Getty Images 
Naomi Campbell's 'Guardian Weekend' cover shoot was her first mainstream fashion shoot featuring a black photographer behind the lens in more than 33 years. Getty Images 

Naomi Campbell was on the cover of Weekend, The Guardian’s weekly lifestyle supplement on Saturday, November 16; styled in pink and black, and standing in front of a pink wall.

Although stunning, it’s not the styling of this particular shoot that is headline-worthy, but the person behind the lens, Campbell Addy.

The British supermodel, 49, took to Twitter to reveal that it was the first time she had been shot by a black photographer for a “mainstream” fashion shoot in three decades.

“It’s my first time in thirty three and a half years shooting with a black photographer in mainstream fashion,” she wrote. “Bless you [Campbell Addy] for a beautiful day and to the whole team and [Guardian Weekend] for this piece”.

She attached one image from inside the feature, as well as the cover, to her tweet.

The magazine’s cover line reads: “Another side of Naomi: The original super talks friends, enemies, lovers, privilege and power”.

Her Twitter followers have responded to the tweet, saying: “Wow ... Black photographers are still not recognised. Absolutely love these images. Credit to the team.”

“That statement speaks volumes! Mainstream fashion has a long way to go,” tweeted another, and a third wrote: “I hope this brings change in mainstream fashion.”

Journalist Yashar Ali commented on the tweet, saying: “What a depressing (yet unsurprising) fact. First time in 33.5 years?!”

He also reminded followers that “a black photographer shot the cover of [US] Vogue for the first time in 126 years just last year,” and included a link to a Huffpost story about Beyonce’s 2018 September cover, which he wrote last July.

Tyler Mitchell was the photographer the singer chose.

“The reason a 23-year-old black photographer is photographing Beyonce for the cover of Vogue is because Beyonce used her power and influence to get him that assignment,” Ali quoted a source saying at the time.

Who is Campbell Addy?

Campbell Addy is from New Addington, Croydon, in England. Naomi Campbell was born nearby in Streatham, south London.

He is one of 15 photographers featured in art critic Antwaun Sargent’s The New Black Vanguard. The book, which was released in October 2019.

“The presentation of black figures and black runway and cover models in the media and art has been one marker of increasingly inclusive fashion and art communities,” the blurb reads. “The contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body has been reinfused with new vitality and substance thanks to an increase in powerful images authored by an international community of black photographers.”

“Naomi by Campbell – It’s a very surreal moment after the longest flight of my life and to see this be shared with you all,” Addy wrote on Instagram about the shoot.

“Firstly to have shot the icon that’s Ms Naomi, and two for her to reveal that it’s the first time in over three decades that she’s been photographed by another black person in mainstream fashion ... let that sink in people ... I am very blessed to be alive and working today, so thank you to everyone that’s made my existence possible. Here’s to many more shoots together.”

Previously, Addy has worked on cover shoots for The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ magazine, Teen Vogue and French high fashion magazine Double. For WSJ, Addy photographed American rapper Tyler, The Creator.

He has also worked on fashion shoots for Vogue, FT Weekend and i-D.

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Updated: November 19, 2019 12:58 PM

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