"When you come to New York City broke, you have nowhere to go but up," says Kwaku Alston '94. "I literally lived on someone's hardwood floor for months until I found enough work to support myself."
Alston is a celebrity portrait photographer and works for film companies and magazines. His portfolio includes the famous and near famous, faces that appear in the most recent movies and television programs. (Try Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Will Smith or any other names you might notice on the opening credits of your favorite movie.) He also teaches a photography class at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
Alston says: "I have never wanted to follow the rules. Photography is creative; it's all about concepts. Some of these celebrities are very hard to deal with. I have to get inside their heads and find out what they're all about, then use it somehow in the photograph."
A few famous faces photographed by Kwaku Alston: Rachael Leigh Cook, the "geeky" girl from She's All That; Samuel L. Jackson, star of almost every movie made in the last five years, including Star Wars: Episode I, The Red Violin, Eve's Bayou, Jackie Brown, Die Hard: With a Vengeance and Pulp Fiction; Will Smith, star of the Wild, Wild West, Men In Black, Independence Day and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV Series; and Richard Belzer, comedian and star of television's Homicide: Life on the Street.
The University Magazine, Fall 1999