With Fashion Week 2012 around the corner, I had the great opportunity to sit down and interview Harlem, New York based fashion and beauty photographer Keston C. Duke. Mr. Duke is known for his fashion and beauty work. Lisbeth Henry: Hi Keston, it’s such a great pleasure speaking with you. Where are you from?
Keston Duke: Hi Lisbeth nice to meet you. I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically, I was raised on the island of Tobago in the country, I lived with my grandparents while my mom was away in England studying nursing.
KD: I used to photograph fashion shows almost every other weekend. Of course there’s something about photographing beautiful women. In the early 90′s I got involved in photographing hairstyles for some of my customers, I got involved into getting published; and who does not want to see their work on the printed page on the newsstand in a magazine (photo of Averlyn Archer, founder and director of the Canvas Paper and Stone Gallery in Harlem).
LH: Why did you choose photography as a career?
KD: I’m actually not sure if I chose photography as a career, actually I think it chose me (laughter). My parents used to give me a camera when I was young and I used to take pictures. I was also an avid reader of National Geographic, Audubon and reading about natural history.
LH: What celebrities have you worked with in the Fashion and Beauty industry?
KD: Well, I have worked with lots of people and companies over the years such as: Barry Fletcher, Patrick Bradley, hairstylist Paul Mitchell, Floyd Keniana, Janet Collections, Isis Hair, John Atchison and Spartan Brands. Over the years I never really aggressively went after celebrities. A few I’ve had in front of my camera are: Chris Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Sean P. Diddy Combs, and Johnny Cochran.
LH: What magazines/publications have publisher your work?
KD: You know, Essence Magazine, Essence Hot Hair, Sophisticated Black Hair, Black Beauty Pro, Sonata International Publication, Tresse International Publication, Upscale Magazine among other well known publications. I’ve also published books and of course I’ve seen my work on hair care product posters, packaging in beauty salons all around the country.
LH: Any tips for up and coming photographers? And models?
KD: As for the camera learn your equipment and know what every part of it does. There is a saying that you should “know every button in the dark.” Practice, practice, practice this goes for both photographers and models. Both models and photographers should bring a lot of energy to the shoot (by looking) atmagazines and videos (to) practice and become … comfortable in front of the camera.
LH: Aside from photography, what are your other passions?
KD: I love plants. I just have a passion and a natural inclination for nature and all growing things. When I go on vacation, I love to take my camera and go for walks and just photograph the nature that surrounds me to scenic shots to flowers, you name it; whatever catches my eyes makes me happy. Other things I like to do are jet skiing, white water rafting, fishing, rollerskating (man, that was my passion!) and of course I do love to travel.
LH: Thanks for your time.
KD: My pleasure.
By Lisbeth Henry for Harlem World Magazine.