The Philadelphia-born photographer earned his big break after his photo series ‘Glitterboy’ was released
At 23, Quil Lemons is now the youngest person ever to shoot a Vanity Fair cover.
Despite his youth, the South Philly native has captured the images of Spike Lee, Young M.A. and Chloe x Halle. Now the photographer can add Billie Eilish to his resume after he shot her for Vanity Fair’s March issue.
“My relationship with Vanity Fair started after Glitterboy,” Lemons told The Philadelphia Inquirer, referencing a photo series he created depicting Black men in glitter. The 2017 series was designed to defy masculine stereotypes.
“I met the creative director, Kira Pollack, I’m not sure if she was the creative director then, but I knew she was high up at Vanity Fair. We met [in 2019] at the International Center of Photography Infinity Awards. They sat me next to Kira, and she was like, ‘Well what do you do?’ and I told her that I was a photographer and she was like, ‘I want to see some of your stuff. I’m going to check you out.’ And that was one of the first times I brushed shoulders with Vanity Fair. They kind of knew who I was but not really in-depth.”
Impressed by an editorial shoot he did for Vanity Fair with Chloe x Halle last year, the magazine flew him out to Los Angeles to shoot their Eilish cover and the rest is media history.
He says he still can’t believe he is the youngest person to shoot the magazine’s cover.
“I am actively processing that,” said Lemons. “It still hasn’t set in, like historically, what it means for my life. I think a lot of it has to do with me just being in the house. I go to set to shoot things and I go back to the house with my family, or my boyfriend, or my friends. It’s been the same 10 people.”
Lemons, who now lives in Brooklyn, says his focus is to reflect the Black experience in his work.
“I’m conveying my version of Blackness and how I’ve come to understand that.”
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