The photos were taken for After Dark Magazine, an entertainment magazine at the time but they never ran. Mitchell said that Whitney asked if she could do her homework while she was waiting. She had just come from high school.
“I have never had that happen, and never since,” Mitchell said. “All she had was the clothes she had worn to high school that day.”
He described the pop star whose career would soar as “an innocent, sweet, pleasant schoolgirl with very good manners.” But at times the shoot was a difficult, “uphill situation” because Houston was neither camera-ready nor savvy.
Mitchell took 13 rolls of film on his medium-format camera, and the session lasted roughly two hours. He suspected these were some of the first photographs Houston had sat for professionally. They were taken at a time when she was singing in the church choir and taking the stage occasionally with her mother.
Because he seldom kept in touch with the stars he photographed, Mitchell was not sure what Houston thought of his photos, but he knew she saw the contact sheets. The negatives sat in his files for about 30 years until he heard about the entertainer’s death in February 2012 and decided to release them.