Rony Alwin is a fixture in the Los Angeles scene where his photo booths started a craze among all of the city's clubs. In fact, from them he created a new status quo, which secretly stipulates that one really isn't at a party worth attending unless there's a photo booth present.
And better yet, one isn't at the best party in the city unless a Rony's Photo Booth is there.
But Alwin is more than just a party photographer. He's a prolific genius behind the lens who has spent time assisting fashion photo heavyweights such as Rankin whenever they come into town as well as busting his butt to get where he is today.
“People don't think I can shoot things other than parties, so I have to separate it all out for them,” he said.
But what's most fascinating about Alwin is that he didn't grow up as an extravagant party kid, as some might assume. He spent his youth sharing a one-bedroom apartment with his single mother and family members. And he technically hasn't left yet — his studio now occupies the space where his mother used to sleep on the couch and his tech gear sits where he used to have a small mattress for himself in the closet.
“I come from a very blue collar background,” Alwin said. “I grew up in [L.A.'s Eagle Rock neighborhood] and we never really had money. I mean, my mom delivered racing forms and my dad is a salesman and they always had enough to support us, but we didn't know any presidents or anything like that. Besides, my friends and I were more interested in taking the bus downtown to go skateboarding than hanging out at a party.”
Looking to make revenue as a photographer while also being able to do what he loves, Alwin came up with the idea of setting up a photo booth in a small club.
“I did it for free during its first year and would only make money by selling the Polaroids to people for $5,” he said. “I just had an RZ-67 camera and a lighting kit that I got a really good deal on.”
Eventually he developed a name for himself around town and clubs began not just paying him to appear with his set up, but also flying him out to destinations all over the world. One such tour forced him into creating a website and switching to a digital camera, which is where the bulk of his most known work grew from.
And he's not just shooting fantastically dressed party goers anymore; he's shooting big-time celebrities, including Katy Perry and LMFAO, whom he knew back when they were no more special than everybody else in this world.
“The guys in LMFAO were the least likely people I thought would become successful when I used to photograph them back in the day,” Alwin said. “They would show up to the clubs in these crazy outfits and we'd just be like, 'Who are these guys? They're so weird.' Then two years later they were playing the Super Bowl. They looked the same as they do now before they even had a single. They're fucking hilarious. So, at this point, I've shot so many people that I don't really put anybody on a pedestal anymore. I think that's something you do when you're younger.”
After establishing his brand to a point where he now has multiple photo booth operations going on in the same night, Alwin has been able to squeeze in more of his personal sessions. And not only are they surprisingly beautiful, but they're also a welcome relaxation from the hectic reality of being surrounded by drunken fucktards.
“Nothing is really that surprising to me anymore because inevitably someone is going to throw up, get naked, or start a fight at a party — the whole scene is crazy to me,” Alwin said.
Out of all his sites however, the one with the most breathtaking shots is Bad Kittys — where he mostly gets his female friends to model for him wearing next to nothing.
“I don't deal with model agencies or anything like that — mainly because I like the unique look of girls who just do their own makeup and hair and have some sort of individuality to them,” Alwin said.
It's easy to spot a Rony Alwin shot from a sea of imitators because it's got a level of supreme detail that someone with mediocre skill wouldn't be able to pull off. He also has a knack for getting girls to pose in natural and sexy ways, which likely is the result of Alwin's calm vibe. He never barks orders or directions; he's simply talented and cool. So check him out.