Meteoric is the only possible term to describe Micaiah Carter’s rise. Just a few years ago, he was studying photography at Parsons—inspired by his father, who had taken pictures documenting his time in the Air Force in the 1970s.
Carter’s aim was, as he told Aperture, to “create a different view-point of what Blackness is.” Since then, Carter’s work has been featured in Antwaun Sargent’s seminal study The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, and he’s taken portraits of luminaries like Serena Williams, Normani, and Naomi Osaka. He is currently working on his first-ever monograph, to be titled 95 48, after his and his father’s birth dates.
For ELLE’s shoot on Harlem’s landmarked Astor Row, Carter turned his remote lens (he shot via Zoom, from Los Angeles) on a group of models including sisters Munaiya (below in pink hijab) and Shamiyl Tumba Bilal (below in pink Fendi dress). Munaiya immigrated to New York from Tanzania when she was 10 years old. When she moved here, she says, she stopped wearing the traditional hijab at first. “The transition was too overwhelming, and the discrimination [against] Muslims was also too much for me to handle, as I was only a 10-year-old,” she recalls.“However, I put the hijab back on when I turned 13, because I was inspired by my mom.” Since then, she’s embraced her community, even leading an all-female running collective for Muslim women in her area. In coming to the States, Munaiya has also found a different kind of community: She finally met Shamiyl, who was raised by her father in New York, for the first time. Though the sisters come from two different worlds, they’ve found a common home in New York.
Hair by Nigella Miller. Makeup by Frank B. at The Wall Group. Manicure by Ada Yeung for Chanel. Casting by Ricky Michiels. Models: Munaiya Bilal at Ricky Michiels Management, Shamiyl Tumba Bilal and Baba Diop at Red Model Management, Erin Eliopulos at Next Management, Serigne Lam at Muse, and Tami Williams at The Society. Produced by Lynda Goldstein at Pix Producers.
This article appears in the November 2020 issue of ELLE.