BELTON — Light from studio flashes illuminated the room.
Guests turned models walked to their marks, turned to the camera and smiled.
For about an hour Friday night, the second floor of the Bell County Museum could have been mistaken for the location of a fashion photoshoot. It had the makings of one — including the hotshot photographer.
Families and friends lined up and waited for their chance to have a portrait made by Bell County native and 1999 Temple High School graduate Koury Angelo.
“I think that when we bring people in that have grown up in Bell County, it’s really inspiring to young people to see what is available and what they can achieve,” said Coleman Hampton, executive director of the Bell County Museum. “There’s just something special about people coming home and presenting at the museum.”
Hampton said Angelo was a natural fit for the museum’s Rolling Stone exhibit — which is on display through August 10 — since he has repeatedly made pictures for the magazine. Among others, Angelo has photographed Robert Downey Jr., Drake, LeBron James, Shawn Mendes and Jason Momoa.
Angelo, a portrait and music photographer based in Los Angeles, directed traffic amid a congested work area and drew laughter from his subjects with effortless charm.
“I love coming home. I haven’t seen a lot of people in a long time. It’s always so good to come back,” the University of Texas at Austin graduate said.
About 100 guests came to see Angelo speak, leaving standing-room only on the second floor of the former Carnegie Library.
“Just progressing as a photo assistant for 10 years to finding a way to get into where I am now was really tough,” he said.
Angelo shared some advice for photographers looking to make that transition.
“It just really is hard work and staying humble and making good relationships with people,” Angelo said. “It’s about doing your best with every little job and every big job, too.”
Every so often, those guests — family members or friends he had not seen — appeared in the photo line and caught his attention. They embraced warmly.
Temple resident Avery Pavliska was on the receiving end of one of those hugs.
“It’s just really awesome that someone from Temple has gone on to do such big things,” said Pavliska, who was one grade level above Angelo.
Classmate Brooke Irwin said Angelo has been her best friend since sixth grade.
“I am so incredibly proud of him, but this is absolutely not surprising,” she said. “You just always knew he was going to do something great.”
During a question and answer session, Angelo was asked what his next step was.
He smiled and said, “The cover of Rolling Stone.”