Celebrity On White Portrait Series on display at E! Entertainment Network

Kwaku’s career as a commercial and celebrity photographer began in New

York where he worked for clients such as The New York Times Magazine,

Sony Music, Rolling Stone and Miramax Films. Since opening his own

studio in the pop culture hub of Venice Beach, California, he’s shot for top

publications, film studios and TV networks as well as taken portraits of

celebrities ranging from Tiger Woods, Samuel Jackson, Brad Pitt, Ashton

Kutcher and Heath Ledger to Michelle Obama, Halle Berry, and Drew

Barrymore – to name a few.

Career highlights include photographing Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela

and a recent group portrait of Oprah Winfrey’s “Legends.” Kwaku also shot

the recent historic Sports Illustrated cover depicting Jason Collins, the first

active player in a major American sport to announce that he’s gay. As a first-

time father, Kwaku has found new inspiration in documenting the life of his

young son.

Kwaku’s images on display at the E Network exhibition were taken with

an over 60 year old Deardorf 8×10 film camera. These large format photos

evoke Golden Age Hollywood headshots and glamour stills, long before

there were 53mm prints. To produce this ongoing series, Kwaku time

traveled down the road of legendary photographers like Cecil Beaton,

Hurrel, and Steiglitz. In Kwaku’s words, “these on-white portraits sprung

from my natural light studio in Venice Beach and take us back to a pre-

digital time where the sitter was as important as the photographer.” A large

format camera slows down the image-making process, requiring the sitter to

remain completely still for long shutter speeds. Any movement can blur the

image, and so both sitter and photographer must work together in a patient

collaboration to avoid an unflattering result. It’s a process that harkens back

to the invention of photography itself with its three fundamental elements:

film, light and time. Deploy these fundamentals with a Hollywood Star

and the results are apparent in Kwaku’s timeless portraits. Today’s high

resolution, high mega-pixel cameras can do remarkable things, but Kwaku’s

8×10 Deardorf can take us back in time like perhaps nothing else.

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emmanuelle chriqui

emmanuelle chriqui

Triple Kim

Triple Kim

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