Ben Trovato has since its conception in 2009 become a world provenance for fashion media, showcasing, inspiring and connecting arising professionals worldwide. We’ve given the up and coming in the business a stage where they can shine and get exposed. Today we are extending that stage to include new models hoping to get their break through in the business. Through Toronto-based photographer Calope’s project Le Mannequin, Ben Trovato will present two fresh faces every week for the ten next weeks, stretching all the way until the beginning of February.
We will present one picture of each model in our gallery, accompanied with a link to their respective model agencies, and a sentence from each model describing their own personality.
One of the goals of Le Mannequin is to show models as the true girls they are, with no makeup and no styling. These aren’t girls surrounded by flashing lights or celebrities, these are normal girls. They could be your next door neighbor, they could be the girl you sat next to in geography, or the girl you had a crush on since elementary. Calope set out to find, and present to you not only fresh faces, but the personalities behind them. He explains how Le Mannequin was born:
“I was sitting at a coffee shop with my good friend and photo editor, Rachel Wine. She mentioned to me that I should submit to an open call at a gallery here in Toronto. She told me however, that the judges of the open call are photo journalists so I have to shoot something that would get their attention. That’s when it popped into my head - another term for model in french is mannequin, then mannequin in english basically means “a dummy.” So, I got inspired to shoot raw beauty portraits of models (new, relatively new, somewhat new) that show them in their most basic form (no make up, no styling) and shoot it in a way to make the judges feel the models; that modelling isn’t just about the fame and bright lights, that models aren’t just dummies that you put clothes on, that these girls are normal girls - girls that you see on the bus, or maybe behind you in line to buy coffee, or someone you had a crush on or had a crush on you during elementary; that these girls are normal people, real people, who experience what everyone of us go through and that these girls have souls”
You have been working on Le Mannequin for a little while now, are there any discoveries you’ve made so far in the making of Le Mannequin you’d like to share with us? “In the past 2 months that I’ve been shooting for the series, these are some things that I observed: They are smart (unlike what a lot of people think), love to read and learn new things. A lot of them are in school (high school, university), some of them are taking a break from their studies to figure out what degree they really want to pursue. A lot of them also want to travel the world and hope that modeling would give them a chance to do so. All of them are looking ahead at their future after modeling.”
How did you scout out the models? “If the girl’s look feels right, I ask their agency to set up a shoot. That’s basically how I go about every shoot I do.”
The models are young and inexperienced. Do you notice a difference from working with more experienced models? “Most of the girls in this series, if not all, either fall in the category: new, relatively new or somewhat new.
When the girls are young and inexperienced, they just become sponges during shoots, very eager to learn and gain more experience in front of the camera.
I feel that they really trust me. With experienced models, they already know their angles so they know how they would move. However, since my approach to shooting is a bit different, I often get comments that shooting with me is a whole new experience. And because of this, sometimes it’s a bit more challenging to get rapport with the model since they’re already used to something then suddenly they’re put in a situation that’s outside their comfort zones. Some adapt and understand me and trust me while some don’t.”
What kind of equipment are you working with? “To be honest, I have very minimal camera equipment. With this series, I only use my trusty Canon 5D mark II and 24-70L lens. And when I’m lucky, my good buddy Jeremy lends me his 50L lens. For lighting, I only use all the available natural light mother nature blesses me with.”
Follow us here as we present two fresh faces every week in the gallery above.