Rockin’ the Ring with Von Elijah

Rockin' the Ring With Von Elijah and Austin Williams

austin williams and Keeon Rudder by Image Theory Photoworks
Keeon Rudder, owner of Von Elijah with boxer Austin Williams by Image Theory Photoworks

Old Friends, New Friends

This past week, I met up with my old pal Austin Williams for a shoot with athletic apparel company, Von Elijah.  If you go back in blog history enough, you can see the shots we did in our first meeting.  Back then, Austin was just coming off a great first year of amateur boxing with a slew of title belts.  He’s continued to grow as a fighter since then.  But I think the magic of studio photography bit him, too, and he’s begun to think about doing a little modeling.  That’s could be a very good fit for Austin.

It seemed to me that the logical first modeling step for Austin would be athletic wear, and I happened to have a contact in the biz — Keeon Rudder.  Keeon is the founder and creative force behind Houston athletic goods and apparel company, Von Elijah. He had featured Savannah O’Hara on his Instagram.  Because Savannah is a model that I had shot extensively, I commented on her usual great work, and one thing led to another. One of the things you can glean from the Von Elijah social media is its grounding in values of honesty, faith, and grit.  That sounded a lot like Austin to me, so I introduced the two. They hit it off, as I expected.

The Shoot

Keeon set up a shoot at O Athletik for Austin’s modeling debut.  “O” is a terrific fitness and boxing gym a mile or so north of I-10 on Shepherd Drive.  It’s most impressive features are first class boxing and MMA rings and a giant overhead mural of “The Greatest” landing a wicked jab. You’ll see that in a bit.

Keeon and I arrived ahead of the models, so we decided to grab a few shots featuring Von Elijah’s logo exercise gloves and unique American Flag-inspired board shorts.

When Austin arrived, we began the main session with a few solo fighting poses. I had brought studio lights and set up a single large octabox on a tall stand with a long boom that stretched over the top rope of the ring far enough to light the corner.  I still had a wall of sunlit windows to contend with, but that would be handled in post. After a little experimentation (and editing) we got some results I liked. Here’s my favorite.

portrait of a young african american boxer
Boxer Austin Williams modeling latest athletic fashion from Von Elijah by Gerard Harrison

The striking mural of Muhammad Ali looming over the ring demanded to be included. For those shots, Austin’s good friend and fellow boxer, Darius Fulghum, joined us.  Darius is another top-ranked amateur.  We had a lot of talent in the ring for our shoot! NOTE: WordPress is botching the color in the second pic.  Click it to see it displayed correctly. 

We wrapped up the session with Austin and his coach Dwight Pratchett doing some glove work, and then moved to bag work with both Austin and Darius.  We closed with a quick portrait of the new Von Elijah brotherhood — Keeon, Austin, and Darius. 

Overall, this was an interesting shoot with terrific people. You’d like them all to be this way.

Finally, a special thanks goes to Kent Ceasar, my photographer’s assistant, was invaluable at resetting the lights and making posing suggestions.  It would not have gone as well without him.  Thanks, Kent.

Some Links For You

So you can keep up with these good folks, here are some links.

You can find the entire line-up of Von Elijah gear here.

Follow Austin on Instagram here.

Follow Darius on Instagram here.

Follow Kent on Instagram here.

And check out O Athletic on the web at


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About Gerard Harrison

With over 30 years' photography experience, Gerard is the owner and founder of Image Theory Photoworks, a fashion and fine art portrait studio.