I wanted to create imagery that was very clean and colorful, but with a eerie sense of something missing, or lacking,” Billy Rood says of his latest story for Ben Trovato, Amanda. “Amanda was definitely a strong part of the story. As soon as I saw her I knew I wanted to do something that showed her features.

She has perfect porcelain skin and a very strong and unique face. A perfect fit for the location and the theme.

The location, a mansion in Northbrook, IL, belongs to a family friend of Jacki Debb - the stylist of the shoot. “I LOVE shooting on location. It’s my favorite way of telling a story,” Rood answers when asked about his location work. Of his three previous stories for Ben Trovato, one was shot in a run-down church, the other in a mysterious forrest, and the third in the streets of Chicago. “It allows more organic images and lets me play more with the model in a different environment. It also is very important for me to try new things and shooting on location always pushes me to do something new.

And as mentioned above, for this particular location, there was no doubt in Rood’s mind that Amanda Murphy @ Factor Women had the right look for the story. ”Her experience and confidence drew me to have her a part of this story. We collaborated a bunch before we shot, just getting to know each other and what we like to do. So it was very easy for me to direct and just watch her do her thing.

All members of the team know each other well, and have work together many times before. “Kerre and Jacki together is like a sitcom waiting to happen,” Rood reveals, and adds “Their banter and playfulness really helps bring levity to shoots and I love working
with them.

“They also love trying new things and trust in my ideas. It is always important to have people that support you.”

Night Crawler by Jennifer Avello

Fashion photographer Jennifer Avello was practically born into the arts, and has always had an interest and passion for creating. She say that endinging up in fashion photography was a natural transgression and a fantastic journey of self-discovery through art. “In grade school I sketched, wrote poetry, and painted. It was in high school when I had found the right fit. Photography stood out as an art form that I could bleed passion into while also making a living. I went on to earn my BFA in photography at Columbia College Chicago where early on I fell in love with photographing people,” she tells us, adding “My strong background in fine art and commercial photography manifest and blend together within my fashion work.

After having shot for a few years the Chicago based photographer has seen her work featured in publications near and far, but today she’s making her grand debut on Ben Trovato, with a dark and intriguing story entitled Night Crawler, featuring the amazing America’s Next Top Model winner McKey Sullivan.

My team and I wanted to create a fashion story as if our subject were a night crawler, a mysterious being in her prime. We choose to keep the make up very clean and subdued with a brow for pop,” Jennifer tells us before praising McKey: “- Mckey was the perfect model to embody our creature of the night.

“Right off the bat, I was completely inspired by Mckey. Right before our shoot Mckey drastically changed her look from the gorgeous short haired brunette we have seen rise to the top as the winner of cycle 11 of Americas Next Top Model to a pixie cut platinum blonde. I really wanted to contrast her light hair, skin, and eyes by creating a dramatic mysterious story through lighting, movement and emotion.”

Joining the team was hair stylist and makeup artist Andrea C Samuels, and fashion stylist Marta Cebrat-Czernik with Clarissa V. Pierre assisting. “Andrea, Marta and I have been working together almost religiously since January of  2011. Our personalities, passions and artistic visions instantly clicked on set and helped form an amazing collaboration and on going friendship,” Jennifer tells us.

Stylist Marta Cebrat-Czernik says the concept and inspiration for this shoot was to mix softness with edge. “Mixing different fabrics and textures with the softness of the models skin tones and make-up choices. In the editorial you will find fringe, chains, leather, as well as some sheer. Making sure to select the right accessory was the key element in every look,” she say.

Photography by Jennifer Avello
Styling by Marta Cebrat-Czernik
Hair & Makeup by Andrea C Samuels with The Rock Agency
Stylist Assistant - Clarissa V. Pierre
Model - Mckey Sullivan @ Factor Women

The Diabolist by Billy Rood

On the day of tricks and treats, Ben Trovato has saved a real Halloween story for our readers. The Diabolist is a story about “a school girl’s transformation who begins to experiment with witchcraft and the occult.”

“ I was inspired to do a shoot with witches and collaborated with Favia [stylist] to develop the story and concept.  He was inspired by the book, The Crucible and I was inspired by the imagery of a young woman’s transformation into a darker and supernatural version of one’s self,” says Billy Rood, a man that should be a familiar to any of our long time followers by now. The Chicago-based photographer and filmmaker is making his third appearance on Ben Trovato today. First was his highly popular story entitled The Abandoned, published in April, and then his film Rather Lovely Thing made it to our Fashion Cinema in September.

The team behind The Diabolist - a team of seven - knew each other from before, and seem to have a certain chemistry that generates magic. “I really enjoy working with this team. We have worked together a lot and we just get each other. They put up with me and I put up with them. We know how to get under each other’s skin and push each other while having the balance of playful banter that adds much needed levity to these shoots.

Model Marta Traskevych seem to fit the role of a school girl experimenting with dark forces well, and Billy reveals they had planned to do a shoot like this for a while: “Marta is a good friend of mine and we have always wanted to do a shoot like this. Marta is so fun and playful, really bubbly, and I wanted to try something completely different from her personality. She also has experience in acting and has a hunger to just play in front of the camera. Her look was interesting to me because she has so many sides of her. She can look soft but still have a strong face which was perfect for the story.

Plus she’s the perfect type of model to work with everyday, zero ego, zero complaining and loves what she does.

When styling the Diabolist Favia said it was important to show the transformation also in the fashion: “- For the clothes I wanted to show the evolution from rebellious schoolgirl into this evil witch who’s into human sacrifice. A lot of the fashion is inspired by rituals I would research with my assistant Chelsea.  In the beginning of the story, the character is fully clothed. Then as she progresses into the ritual she becomes more body conscious and bare. That idea of the transformation also inspired the fashion from a ritual in The Crucible where they would be dancing naked in the woods.”

Make sure to catch the short film at the bottom of the post!

Photography - Billy Rood @
Styling - Favia @ Ford Artists
Styling first assistant - Chelsea McGrath
Hair & Makeup - Kerre Berry @ Chicago Emerging Artists
Model - Marta Traskevych @ Factor Women
Photography assistants - Eric Rademecher & Erica Treais @

Rather Lovely Thing by Billy Rood

For Billy Rood's first exclusive fashion story for Ben Trovato, The Abandoned.

Billy Rood’s film Rather Lovely Thing mixes a world of fantasy and romance, while seducing the viewer into a dreamlike state. Rood, whose work has been featured in Bambi Magazine, The Dirty Durty Diary, Factio, KITTEN, and not to mention Ben Trovato, delves into deep into a poetic world in his new film.

Rood explains the theme, “It’s about a young woman’s inner search for a sense of beauty that unlocks the alchemy that forges hope from fear. It’s not about the unreachable standard that decorates museum walls, the decor of her mind, found along the elusive divide between dream and reality.

It’s easy to get seduced by the main character, Isabella Farrell, who straddles the two different realities throughout the entire film. Rood explains, “Isabella is very talented, she’s not only beautiful, but she can also dance, sing, act and model. Her potential attracted me to create a project that not only showcased all of those talents, but to tell a story that I was inspired to create by my muse, Katrina Hoernig. I wanted to create a film about beauty, the kind that we all feel on the inside.

The short film uses a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, A dream within a dream to really highlight the different themes of reality throughout the film. Rood explains, “It’s a very popular and personal poem that means so many things to me. In his poem Poe uses the sea as a setting for what I take as death and decay. In my film, I used an imaginary forest because it leaves me with a feeling of emptiness and regret to the combination of two aspects of reality. This film is an attempt to visually communicate that poem into a story of a girl who is looking for her inner sense of beauty in a world of colliding realities.

Lastly, Rood explains the formula for making a short film,

“Just like anything else, have passion, a clue and lead…because people will follow a dream.”

Indeed they will.

Factor Women presents a Fig Films & Andrew Benz production
a film by Billy Rood
“Rather Lovely Thing”
Starring Isabella Farrell
Produced by Jan Berendsen, Richie Keo, Billy Rood, James Gustin & Andrew Benz
Cinematography by Andrew Benz
Styling by Dana Hanegraaf
Hair & Makeup by Kerre Berry @ Chicago Emerging Artists
Production design by Chelsea van Midde
Set design by Thomas Kubik & Billy Rood
Music by Eric Hillman
Unit production manager Allison Anderson
Script supervisor Justin Nijim
Craft services Ashlee Stewack
Production assistants Idris Oladipo & Andrew Winkler
Special thanks to Samantha Pletzke & Marta Traskevych

Steadicam operator Carl Wiedemann
Gaffer Jordan Balderas
Best Boy Ryan Gasser
Director of Photography Andrew Benz
Produced, Written & Directed by Billy Rood

The Abandoned by Billy Rood

Chicago based photographer Billy Rood has just shot his first exclusive for Ben Trovato. The Abandoned features the mysterious Hilary Anderson who was styled by Helen Berkun, and had hair and make up done by Traci Fine.

Billy says this about the story: “- Well this particular story was inspired by a town called GARY, IN. It was known to be the murder capital of the world, and is pretty much abandoned. Most of the town is spread apart with abandoned buildings everywhere. I went to check it out one day and decided to use it for a fashion story. I know from the feel of the locations I wanted the story to be pretty but extremely creepy and mysterious at the same time. Thought the contrast of soft and pretty to the abandoned and the decaying buildings would be interesting.

Billy’s work has been featured in publications such as Bambi Magazine, The Dirty Durty Diary, Factio, KITTEN and CS Magazine, and he’s currently in the process of moving to New York.

He started teaching himself photography back in 2008, and fashion photography followed the year after: “- It wasn’t until 2009 where I became interested in fashion photography. About 6 months after I started to get more serious into my work and developing my style.

He says that most of his inspiration comes from his dreams, stories, and music, and adds: “- The combination of those 3 always take me to places I end up wanting to photograph or tell. I love location shooting as well…especially to places that are unique and have a sense of history to them. But I am also inspired by timeless work of Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi, Glen Luchford, Steven Meisel & Bruno Aveillan.

Here’s The Abandoned by Billy Rood, for Ben Trovato:

Photography - Billy Rood (
Model - Hilary Anderson @ FACTOR Women
Styling - Helen Berkun @ MISSRED, INC
Styling Assistant - Annie Del Walsh
Hair/Makeup - Traci Fine @ Artists by Timothy Priano
Photo Assists - Alaina Africano & Samantha Pletzke

Shoes by Gasoline Glamour. CHIQUITA SPIKE SHOES.

Check out his portfolio here. and here.

South Garden by Heather Talbert

Heather Talbert just recently moved from Miami to Chicago, where she shot this elegant story exclusively for Ben Trovato. South Garden features the beautiful Lina and Jordan from Ford Chicago, was styled by Dana Hanegraaf, make up was done by Carley Martin, nails by Rashida B, and hair was done by Ghita Jones.

Heather, who’s originally from Dallas, started shooting about 4 years ago, and since then her work has been published by publications such as 944, Cheek, Glossy, Dujour and many more. And now, of course, Ben Trovato. She mentions nature to be one of her biggest sources of inspiration: “- I would have to say more than anything I am inspired by nature. I love nothing more than shooting outside with natural light.

Right now she’s working on an exhibition next spring, so stay tuned. But now, we give you South Garden by Heather Talbert for Ben Trovato:

Photography - Heather Talbert
Styling - Dana Hanegraaf with Agency Galatea
Hair - Ghita Jones
Make Up - Carley Martin with ABTP
Nails - Rashida B at ABTP
Models - Lina and Jordan with Ford Chicago
Location - The South Garden of the Art Institute Chicago

Check out her portfolio here.