All About Awol Erizku: Meet the Photographer Who Took Beyoncé's Record-Shattering Maternity Portrait
Awol Erizku is the photographer behind Beyoncé's maternity photos
And with the debut of Queen Bey’s maternity photo album Thursday morning — and its colorful mix of artistic nudes and underwater shots — many have wondered about the artist behind the pictures.
Turns out, the person reportedly responsible is Ethiopian-American photographer Awol Erizku. Though the photos remain uncredited on Beyoncé’s social media, Art News reportedly confirmed via text that Erizku took them.
So who exactly is the man credited for taking the most-liked maternity photo in the world? Here are five things you should know:
1. He was born in Ethiopia.
Erizku was born in Ethiopia and raised in the Bronx. He is currently based in Los Angeles.
The artist was influenced by his hometown in his signature piece of a black hand holding a red rose, which is a tribute to a popular picture that can be found in nail salons across the country.
“The hand is this ubiquitous symbol I saw growing up,” he explained to Fader. “In the Bronx, all you see is liquor shops, barber shops, and nail salons.”
2. He is a Yale graduate.
Erizku graduated from Yale’s M.F.A program in 2014, and has since had his work exhibited in venues like The Museum of Modern Art.
3. He is also an artist and sculptor, and his Instagram is like a gallery.
Erizku writes on his Facebook that his primary media is photography, sculpture and video installation using materials including basketball hoops, VHS tapes and textile. He has created mixtapes to pair with his shows, and has pieces inspired by Jay Z and Rihanna.
Erizku has said he treats his Instagram page “like a gallery.” In a 2015 interview with Vulture, he said, “I keep it private, and then from 9 to 5, Monday or Tuesday through Friday, like gallery hours, that’s when it’s public.”
A glance at the artist’s Instagram page may give déjà vu, as he previously posted a picture of the flower-filled red Porsche that Beyoncé sits atop in one of her maternity photos several weeks ago. The car was a part of his pop-up installation called “Ask the Dust” that was done in collaboration with floral designer Sarah Lineberger.
4. He has collaborated with other entertainment heavy-hitters.
Beyoncé isn’t the only celebrity Erizku has photographed. He has also collaborated with Viola Davis for The New Yorker and rapper ASAP Rocky.
5. He has history with ‘The Carters.’
This isn’t the first time Erizku has had the pleasure of photographing Beyoncé. In 2014, he shot Beyoncé and Jay Z during their trip to the Louvre museum in Paris. At the time, he posted a picture of the power couple standing in front of the Mona Lisa. In the post, though, he replaced the iconic painting with his own work— titled the “Girl with the Bamboo Earring.”
See more of Erizku’s portraits of Beyoncé here.