Zeitgeist: Kennedi Carter

The photographer Kennedi Carter, from Durham, North Carolina, creates evocative, tender images rooted in Black and Southern life

A matter of days before we speak with photographer Kennedi Carter, news broke of her powerful British Vogue cover story starring none other than Beyoncé. At 21 years old, it makes her the youngest photographer to shoot the cover in the magazine’s history, and yet, speaking over the phone from her home in Durham, North Carolina, it becomes clear she is taking it all in her stride.

Perhaps it’s because of her casual path into photography. Back in high school, Carter took the course because she thought it would be easy. It wasn’t. “My teacher was pretty adamant about making sure we put a lot of effort into the courses,” she tells CR.

More recently, she has been training her lens on the people and stories around her to explore the “aesthetics and socio-political aspects of Black life, as well as the overlooked beauties of the Black experience”, touching on themes such as community, trauma and love.

Top: Ridin’ Sucka Free; Above: Tribute 2 Troy. All images © Kennedi Carter

Carter’s evocative portraits are underpinned by a sense of intimacy. Many of her works feature exposed skin, whether showing people fully unclothed or lingerie unfurling to reveal a pregnant stomach beneath. “I think there’s something that’s always been very interesting to me about the nude form, even in regards to changing the narrative surrounding Black nudity,” she explains.