Successful photography team's portrait of hoops star hits ESPN cover

Aug 18, 2017

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ESPN The Magazine Body Issue cover photo by Mark Williams and Sara Hirakawa.

An image by a formidable photography duo — both of whom are College of Imaging Arts and Sciences graduates — landed on a cover of this year’s edition of ESPN The Magazine’s popular Body Issue, released last month.

Mark Williams and Sara Hirakawa, who work as a team, photographed extremely talented WNBA player Nneka Ogwumike for one of the publication’s fronts. The annual edition features athletes posing semi-nude or fully disrobed.

Williams and Hirakawa are 1997 graduates of the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS). Their subject for the high-profile assignment, Ogwumike, is one of the brightest stars in her sport. The Los Angeles Sparks forward is a four-time All-Star, 2016 league MVP and champion, and president of the WNBA Players Association.

According to their website, Williams and Hirakawa describe their working process as ever-changing. “We are a true collaboration of both our efforts combined to make the image,” the site reads. “Our pursuit is always to serve the picture.”

The pair’s extensive, eyebrow-raising resume also includes portraits of actor Ewan McGregor, comedian/actor Kevin Hart, and immensely popular beauty blogger Huda Kattan.

Williams and Hirakawa weren’t the only CIAS alumni to photograph an athlete for the 2017 Body Issue. Kwaku Alston, a 1994 SPAS graduate, captured Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for another cover