Twitter Calls Out Vogue For Not Properly Lighting Supreme Court Justice’s Ketanji Brown’s Photos

Vogue magazine is still in the dark about how to properly light African American skin - Ketanji Brown's photos yield underwhelming results.

Twitter Calls Out Vogue For Not Properly Lighting Supreme Court Justice’s Ketanji Brown’s Photos

Vogue’s sneak-peak shot of Ketanji Brown killed Twitter’s enthusiasm for the photos’ September debut in the mag.

United States Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

It seems like the publication is still in the dark about how to properly light African American skin.

United States Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson was photographed by famed photographer Anne Leibovitz at the national mall. What was supposed to be a historic photo shoot apparently only yielded underwhelming results.

Jackson will be featured in Vogue for being the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court. The pictures are to be released in the magazine’s legendary September issue – just before the new term for the Supreme Court begins in October.

Anne Leboitz released some sneak-peak photos (Girl, I know you that now) from the highly anticipated photo shoot that Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour said would be a  “historic portrait”.

On August 16th, she tweeted “United States Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., 2022 / For @voguemagazine”

One of the images Leibovitz tweeted of Jackson at the National Mall showed-cased her resting on a column in the left of the photo. She appeared to be blending in with the shadows while the marble statue of Abraham Lincoln was beautifully lit in the center of the image. In the second photo, Jackson is sitting in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in a three-quarter shot. Although the sky looks beautiful in the background, the overall photo looks a bit….dry. Like, that’s it?

Twitter believes Leibovitz’ photos were just as poorly produced as the images she captured of gymnast, Simon Biles, that were taken for Vogue and the images of actress, Viola Davis, taken for Vanity Fair. Users believe the photog is unaware of how to properly light Black skin.

The Executive Editor for Yes! Magazine, Evette Dionne, showed her disapproval in a passionately, sarcastic tweet, “Annie Leibovitz and Anna Wintour will one day pay for the crimes they’ve committed against Black women photographed in Vogue,”.



Another Twitter user shared, “@voguemagazine Please stop hiring Annie Leibovitz to photograph Black women. She doesn’t light them properly and allows them no grace or beauty only stereotypical visual narratives of BW as either “strong” or beleaguered. Enough already.”



Twitter user, @raymundmitchell, even showed how he was able to improve the lighting of the photos in minutes with basic software.

He tweeted, “This is on purpose. I mean, it took less than five minutes for both of these, and I know I don’t even have the cameras, lighting rigs and software she does.”

Photographer, Abu Elsadeg, was also unimpressed by Leibovitz’s work. He told The Daily Beast, “It’s not like [Vogue] is a regular magazine or a regular photo shoot. I feel like more should have been delivered.”

Daphney Boutin, a photographer based in New York City, also told the online mag, “For a magazine like Vogue and other top magazines… it would be nice to [use] a Black photographer. There are plenty of fantastic, capable Black photographers.”

It’s incredibly disappointing when you’re anticipating getting photos back only to be dissatisfied with the final product. Nothing was worst than getting your school pictures back only to have to hide them from curious classmates – you thought you were fly but the lens said otherwise.

I hope Ketanji knows that even though these photos seem to be keeping her in the dark, nothing can squelch how vividly Blackness shines.