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Behind the Lens with SI Swimsuit Photographer Laretta Houston

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SI Swimsuit photographer Laretta Houston photographed the 2019 SI Swimsuit cover of Tyra Banks, and returned this year to photograph the WNBA players Nneka Ogwumike, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, DiDi Richards and Te’a Cooper for the 2022 SI Swimsuit Issue in St. Thomas.

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“These women, to me, were very powerful,” says Houston. “Working with Nneka [Ogwumike] was amazing. That girl right there, we had a connection with each other. Breanna [Stewart] was hilarious. She’s very quiet at first and then she got really loose and Sue [Bird], who is 41?! How amazing it is to look that beautiful at 41 and to even have an eight pack. And although she was quiet, she was very confident and loving. You can see it right? I mean, she was amazing in front of the camera. Te'a [Cooper]. Oh my God. That butt! I need to get back into the gym. DiDi [Richards] I love. She was just carefree. She really didn’t care. It was just easy to shoot her and she just nailed every pose. It was just effortless.”

Houston’s rise hasn’t been one she takes for granted. “I am now one of the Black women—and there’s plenty of talented Black photographers out there—to pave the way for others to come in, someone who looks like them,” says Houston. “And so even for little girls, I am someone they inspire to be.

“I want people to look at my photos and take away that they know we’re strong. We’re bold. We’re Black. We’re beautiful, confident.”

See Laretta Houston’s shoot of the women of the WNBA here.