Black Twitter drags Vogue over Simone Biles photos

The magazine was blasted for the dimly lit pictures of Simone Biles

Simone Biles
(Photo: Megyn Kelly Today/screenshot)

Gymnast Simone Biles is a champion in every sense of the word. But when her fans saw what her cover on the August issue of Vogue looked like, they almost unanimously agreed that it was a fail.

Biles’ supporters and even industry experts like New York Times national picture editor Morrigan McCarthy were dismayed by the dimly lit images of the Olympic athlete that were shot by famous photog Annie Leibovitz but did her no justice.

Simone Biles
Simone Biles of the USA poses for a photograph with her gold medal after winning the Women’s All-Round Final during day eight of the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships at Aspire Dome on November 1, 2018 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

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The improper lighting of black skin tones has been an ongoing hurdle in Hollywood. It has prompted shows like HBO’s Issa Rae hit Insecure to go out of their way to hire people who’ve been specifically trained to light Black people.

To that point, many slammed Vogue, opining that this was clearly a case where they should have used a Black photographer. It was also suggested that it was perhaps time to get into the habit of hiring more Black photographers in general.

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“I adore Simone Biles and am thrilled she’s on this cover,” wrote McCarthy. “But I hate these photos. I hate the toning, I hate how predictable they are, I hate the social crop here (wtf?) and I super hate that Vogue couldn’t be bothered to hire a Black photographer.”

To illustrate McCarthy’s point, one clever Twitter user posted a split-screen of Biles next to actress Gabrielle Union who is a similar complexion. They wrote, “Simone biles shot by annie leibovitz, a professional photographer,” then noted that Union’s much more flattering photo with proper light had been shot by her stepdaughter Zaya Wade.

Others even went as far as to color correct the original photos.

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